Seniors in Canada are overdrugged and overtested, to the detriment of both their health and the health care system, as billions of dollars are being spent that could more productively be spent elsewhere, several experts say.
- Pharmacists filled an average 74 prescriptions per year for people aged 80 or over in 2005,
- They filled 14 prescriptions per year for all other age groups, according to the latest available Statistics Canada data.
- The Canadian Institute for Health Information says that in 2010, about 13% of seniors who took five or more prescription medications experienced a side effect that caused them to seek further health care services.
Among the great culprits is unnecessary preventative medication, McGregor says. “We tend to keep elderly people on medications for prevention purposes, even when there’s no real research that supports doing so.”
Not only this, but testing of drugs doesn't often include those over age 70.
Sixteenth of a series on end-of-life care
Part I: Preparing for the inevitable
Part VIII: Pocket-sized help for people with dementia
Part IX: Grief therapy for those left behind
Part X: Providing hospice in the womb
Part XV: “Seniors emergency departments” yield health improvements, advocates say