Express prescription drug machine

We are used to using vending machines for crisps, drinks and toiletries - but are we ready for them to give us our prescription drugs?

Each year, 886 million prescription drug items are dispensed in England and it is hoped this new technology can streamline the process.

There are questions though over if it is safe to break the patient-pharmacist link, if drugs stored in the machine will be safe from thieves and if people could fraudulently pick up the medicine meant for others.

Two different types of machines are being trialled with the aim of national roll-out across England.

The supermarket chain Sainsbury's is currently piloting a scheme in two of its West Sussex stores. After a year it will look at customer feedback, before deciding whether to extend to other stores. It is hoped the machines will speed up customer queuing times.

How it works

Customers will use a unique ID or fingerprint as well as a Pin when putting in their prescription and again when they come back to collect the medicine, ensuring the drugs go to the correct person. While the patient waits, the pharmacist will prepare and place the drugs into the machine for collection.

Each machine can hold up to 450 packs of medicines.

While the machines will be available only alongside the in-store pharmacy service, it is possible to conduct the whole process without face-to-face contact.

Repeat prescribing accounts for 80% of prescription items - the other items are treatments the patient has not used before and may be unfamiliar with.

Do you think it is a good idea?


Health Care Costs

According to Reuters, “The United States spends more on healthcare than any country in the world but has higher rates of infant mortality, diabetes and other ills than many other developed countries.”

Every year, without fail, spending for services covered by private health insurance increases. Sometimes health care spending grows slowly, as it did in the mid-1990s during the managed-care boom. But more often, it increases rapidly, as it is doing now — in part because of the managed-care bust.
Between 1999 and 2003, the per capita spending for services covered by private health insurance increased by 39 percent. Given that the average hourly earnings of U.S. workers increased by only percent during that period (see FigureFigureAnnual Percent Changes per Capita in Health Care Expenditures and in Average Hourly Wages for Workers in All Industries, 2000 through 2003.), affordability is an acute and growing concern.

The simple explanation for rapidly increasing health care costs is that people are getting more care, much of which is associated with new medical technologies. But many experts have doubts about the value of some of this care in relation to its cost. And when health care costs increase at a much faster rate than incomes, many people — especially those with low incomes — can no longer afford insurance coverage.

Reporting from Washington — In a stark reminder of growing costs, the government has released a new estimate that healthcare spending grew to a record 17.3% of the U.S. economy last year, marking the largest one-year jump in its share of the economy since the government started keeping such records half a century ago.
The almost $2.5 trillion spent in 2009 was $134 billion more than the previous year, when healthcare consumed 16.2% of the gross domestic product, according to an annual report by independent actuaries at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, scheduled for release Thursday.
Considering the national health-care discussion in Congress, it doesn't appear that reform is on the way. Because while the Congressional debate over the national health-care plan focuses on reforming America's employer-based insurance system and adding a "public option" of Government-provided health insurance, these debates are akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic if our total health costs don't drop dramatically, and soon.

While supporters of the health-care bill claim it will eventually lead to costs savings, analysts have questioned these projections. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that the proposed legislation would do little to stem the rise in health-care expenditures, according to the CFR report.

Critics such as Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard claim that the highly complex plan "low-balls costs and exaggerates the means for paying for it." The bill purports to cut the $1.5 trillion Federal budget deficit by $118 billion, but actually will end up borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars more, Barnes says.


Addictive pain killer prescription drugs

Prescription drug abuse by teens and young adults is a serious problem in the United States. As reported in the Partnership
for a Drug Free America’s annual tracking study:

* 1 in 5 teens has abused a prescription (Rx) pain medication
* 1 in 5 report abusing prescription stimulants and tranquilizers
* 1 in 10 has abused cough medication

U.S. officials reported a 400 per cent increase over 10 years in the proportion of Americans treated for prescription painkiller abuse and said the problem cut across age groups, geography and income.

pain killer:
Due to the physical dependence produced by chronic use of opioid painkillers, teens who are prescribed pain killer medications need to be monitored not just when they are appropriately taking the medicine, but also when they stop using the drug to reduce or avoid withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of withdrawal can include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, and involuntary leg movements

Addictive prescription drugs produce an artificial feeling of pleasure. If pain killing prescription drug use is stopped when no longer needed for real pain, there is less chance of the prescription drug becoming addictive to that user. This is possibly due to the non-abusing patients’ pain levels reducing some of the opioid euphoric effects. Such drugs short-circuit your survival system by artificially stimulating the pleasure areas in your brain. As this happens, it leads to increased confidence in the drug and less confidence in normal body feelings and the rewards of life. This first happens on a physical level, then like other addictive drugs, it has a psychological effect. Interest in other aspects of life decreases as reliance on the drug increases. People, places and activities involved with using these drugs become increasingly important. Conversely, lifestyles that worked through your normal reward system before using the drug begin to diminish. After awhile, a heavy prescriptive drug user, like the illicit drug user, will actually resent people, places, and activities that do not fit in with that drug use.