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Challenge Match: nyk537 vs. Argos: Rx America

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posted on Jul, 7 2008 @ 12:27 PM
The topic for this debate is "The Amount Of Prescription Drugs On The Market For The Treatment Of Mental Illness Heavily Out Weigh The Consumer's Need For Them."

nyk537 will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Argos will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

Character limits are no longer in effect. You may use as many characters as a single post allows.

Editing is strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted. This prevents cheating. If you make an honest mistake which needs fixing, you must U2U me. I will do a limited amount of editing for good cause. Please use spell check before you post.

Opening and closing statements must not contain any images, and must have no more than 3 references. Excluding both the opening and closing statements, only two images and no more than 5 references can be included for each post.

The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.

When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceded by a direct answer.

Responses should be made within 24 hours. One single 24 hour extension can be used by a member by requesting it in the thread. If 24 hours passes without response, you may proceed with your next post. Members who exceed 24 hours run the risk of losing their post, but may still post up until their opponent has submitted their next response.

This is a challenge match. The winner will receive 2 ranking points, the loser will lose two ranking points.

posted on Jul, 7 2008 @ 02:34 PM
I'd like to open by thanking MemoryShock and Argos for allowing this debate to take place. I've been looking forward to returning to debating for a while and am glad to be back in the mix. I look forward to a good challenge and wish my competitor the best of luck!

"The Amount Of Prescription Drugs On The Market For The Treatment Of Mental Illness Heavily Out Weigh The Consumer's Need For Them."

Close to 10 percent of men and women in America today are now taking prescription drugs to combat depression. How did a once rare condition become so common?

I’d like to open by inviting you to take a look with me at the average medicated American. Picture if you will this person getting ready for bed in the evening. Like many of us, this person is thinking about the looming pressures of the day, the busy commute in the morning, the hassles at the office. They open the medicine cabinet and remove a small bottle of pills. The little pill in their hand could be any of the over 30 available drugs used as antidepressants – Prozac or Zoloft or Paxil or Celexa or Lexapro or Luvox, or Buspar, or Nardil, or Elavil or Sinequan or Remeron. Our individual hopes that some Monday morning in the future the little pill will have worked its magic. They hope the pill will have done whatever it is the commercial said that it does. Brushing their teeth, they hope that one day they will simply feel better.

If current statistics in America serve, we can gather several things about our medicated American. We know that there is a very good chance they have no psychiatric diagnosis. A study of antidepressant use in private health insurance plans by the New England Research Institute found that 43 percent of those taking prescribed antidepressants had no diagnosis or any mental health care beyond the drug itself.

We can also gather that they are most likely female. A study in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that twice as many drugs are prescribed for women than men. Astonishingly, in 2002, more than one in three doctor’s office visits by women involved the prescription of an antidepressant according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

We can also feel safe in saying that most likely a psychiatrist did not prescribe the medication. In fact the majority of antidepressants in America are now prescribed by family doctors. Taking this into consideration, we can also assume that the doctor did not spend much time explaining the nature of the drugs. Based on taped sessions, a 2006 study at the University of California showed that when prescribing a new medicine, two thirds of doctors said nothing to the patient about how long to take the medication, and almost half did not indicate the dosage and amount frequency. Only about a third of the time did doctors mention adverse side effects. As a result, after starting antidepressants and taking them for several months, three quarters of adults and almost half of children do not see a doctor or therapist for mental health care, found a study by Medco Health Solutions. Another report from the New York Times, reported only 20 percent of people who take antidepressants have any kind of follow-up appointment at all.

So how did we reach this stage in America? To find that out we need to take a little look at what exactly is being prescribed to our citizens.

Antidepressant SSIRs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) were first approved as treatment for clinical depression. Other uses were steadily added during the 1990s such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, anxiety and premenstrual dysphonic disorder. As a result of this expansion, a good number of Americans are now taking SSRIs for non-FDA approved uses. In fact, a 2006 study found that three quarters of people prescribed antidepressant drugs receive the medication for a reason not approved by the FDA. This is legal and is intended to give doctors the flexibility to prescribe the drugs that are best suited to their patients needs. The problem is that most of these non-FDA approved uses have little or no scientific support. Many patients are being prescribed drugs that they just assume are being given specifically for their needs.

So if most people are using these drugs for non approved reasons, why are they using them at all?

One reason can be traced back to our ever expanding use of the term, “depression.” Depression was once considered a rare disease generally associated with older women, but has now become the mental health diagnosis of our time. About 40 percent of mental health complaints result in a diagnosis, according to the CDC.

Martin E. P. Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania has stated: “If you’re born around World War I, in your lifetime the prevalence of depression is about 1 percent. If you’re born around World War II, the lifetime prevalence is about 5 percent. If you were born starting in the 60s, the lifetime prevalence seemed to be between 10 to 15 percent.” Moreover, Seligman notes, the age of onset of the first depressive episode as dropped. Recent studies have found the mean age for the first bout of depression is now around 14 years old.

So if more people are being diagnosed, why is there a problem you might ask? Well, to anyone reasonably experienced in the mental health field, there is depression, and there is Depression. The first type is a terribly broad and bland term, indicating, “the blues,” “feeling down,” “bummed out,” or any of a dozen other phrases. Major depressive disorder, however, is a serious and indisputably profound medical condition. To confuse the two, is to compare a gentle spring rain to a vengeful typhoon.

This small bit of background information should begin to draw the picture for you of how there are far too many drugs flooding the market in America. I believe we all need to step back for a moment and return to calling life problems what they are: life problems.

[edit on 7-7-2008 by MemoryShock]

posted on Jul, 7 2008 @ 04:07 PM
My thanks to MemoryShock for organising this debate and i would also like to thank NYK537 for allowing me to get my feet wet in the debate forum again. Hats off to both of you. Good luck NYK537

"The Amount Of Prescription Drugs On The Market For The Treatment Of Mental Illness Heavily Out Weigh The Consumer's Need For Them."

First off I would like to look at whether the amount of drugs on the market has a positive or negative effect when it comes to the treatment of mental illness.

Why can there be too many drugs that might help people to better fulfil there lives?

The real question you have to ask yourself is why does it matter how many drugs are available? Surely if just one person can benefit from the addition of an extra drug to the market then it is worth it right?

The negative effects that my opponent has used so far are dependency and wrongful prescriptions of these drugs but that is not because there are so many drugs on the market that is according to my opponent the fault of unneeded prescriptions being given by DOCTORS.

And dependency doesn’t come from the amount of drugs on the market. Dependency comes from people being on the same drugs to long or a susceptibility to addiction.

As my opponent has highlighted these problems are consequences of having so many drugs on the market I would like to point out that all of these problems could be solved by better training of doctors prescribing these types of drugs or changes in the system of how such drugs are prescribed.

In my opinion you can’t blame the amount of drugs on the market for these problems though, that is a failure in the system, not a failure in the effectiveness, or a consequence because of, the amount of these prescription drugs.

On the flip side though if you look at the positive effects of having many drugs on the market you can see that more people are treated. More break through are made and if you took away a large percentage of mental illness drugs then you would also get a large percentage of people who are diagnosed with mental health disorders or illness that would no longer be able to function as well or at all in society.

As this debate continues I would like to highlight other areas like the amount of mental health illnesses being recognised is increasing which is fuelling the need for more medication for treatment.

Also a lot of people need to try different drugs for the same illness to find the one that suits them best and works the most effectively.

I would also like to broaden the horizons a little bit by asking. Why are there so many drugs available for any illness? Why are there so many drugs for injuries, infections anything?

Surely the answer is the more you have to choose from the better the chance of finding the ones that will work. You can’t blame the amount of drugs in production around the world for the problems that arise from drug use.

posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 08:56 AM
My opponent has taken an interesting approach to this issue that I feel will be best served taken point by point. To start off, let’s examine the first question posed.

“Why can there be too many drugs that might help people to better fulfill their lives?”

Well, in order to reach an answer to that question, we must first ask ourselves another. “Are these drugs really helping anyone?”

Let’s begin our examination of this by taking a look at some excerpts from a Wall Street Journal article written June 12th, 2002.

“Though demand for antidepressants is huge and growing - they are now the second-most prescribed drugs after anti-infectives, such as antibiotics - the frustrating reality for many patients and physicians are that they either don't work very well or have intolerable side effects.”

“Few patients realize that half of the people who go on antidepressants stop taking them after three months.”

And then we see this, taken from the popular medical site WebMD.

“The latest scientific study to weigh in on the subject finds that the antidepressants worked only marginally better than placebos in a group of studies submitted to the FDA. Study participants taking the dummy pills had approximately 80% of the response seen in patients taking one of the six most widely prescribed antidepressants.”

Now, to make things worse, we can read this bit of information from Psychologist Roger P. Greenberg, PhD, who heads the psychology division at SUNY Upstate Medical University and has written two books on the limits of treating depression with drugs.

"The notion that depression is caused by a biochemical imbalance that is easily treated with drugs has taken hold in recent years because it provides this easy solution, biochemical imbalance is a handy catch phrase, but there is not a lot of evidence that there is such a thing."

So where does that leave us on my opponents first point? Is there really any substantive evidence that antidepressants and other mental illness drugs are really helping anyone?

One of my opponent’s second points is that the only side effects mentioned so far for these drugs are dependency and wrongful prescriptions.

I’d like to take that a few steps further and take a look at some of the “real” side effects of antidepressants now.

First of all, considering there is virtually no difference between every major SSRI, the choice between which one to take for some patients literally comes down to the side effects! What are some of these you might ask? Well…

• Dry mouth
• Urinary retention
• Blurred vision
• Constipation
• Sedation (can interfere with driving or operating machinery)
• Sleep disruption
• Weight gain
• Headache
• Nausea
• Gastrointestinal disturbance/diarrhea
• Abdominal pain
• Inability to achieve an erection
• Inability to achieve an orgasm (men and women)
• Loss of libido
• Agitation
• Anxiety

….just to get you started.

Antidepressant treatment is often described as using "a sledgehammer to crack a nut", especially in cases of mild to moderate depression. Bombarding an incredibly delicate and well balanced system with external chemicals on a long-term basis is bound to create unpleasant side effects.

The next few points my opponent attempts to make all fall along these same lines that the drugs are helpful and therefore should not be held accountable. The point is also made that obviously these drugs are needed due to the fact that so many people are diagnosed with mental illness. Obviously my opponent missed the section of my opening statement in which I revealed that 43 percent of people taking prescribed antidepressants had never received a diagnosis at all!

Considering these are really the only points made by my opponent to this point, I’d like to encourage some expansion of these ideas.

In what ways are these drugs helpful to people who most likely have not even been diagnosed as needing them?

If there are virtually no differences in the chemical makeup of these drugs, why do we need over 30 different brands of them?

Do you think that the constant increase in the recognition of mental illness has anything to do with the flooding of the market with the drugs? Especially taking into consideration that most patients are never even diagnosed?

posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 01:34 PM
My opponent whilst attempting to answer my question:

“Why can there be too many drugs that might help people to better fulfil their lives?”

Has counter asked a question of his own by asking:

“Are these drugs really helping anyone?”

I would like to adapt this counter question to put my opponent’s real focus of this debate so far for our readers:

“Are these anti-depressants really helping anyone?”

I will get back to the point of why I adapted this counter question later in this post. To carry on though and in attempting to answer this counter question he has forgotten to mention some very relevant points.

Take for example this article written in the New York Times on June 30th 2002:

Millions are helped by antidepressants, with some studies indicating that 35 to 45 percent of those who take them experience complete relief from their symptoms.

''There is no question that the drugs work,'' said Dr. Steven Hyman, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health before becoming the provost at Harvard.

So when asking this counter question of “Are these drugs/anti-depressants really helping anyone?” I have to answer that millions of Americans depend on anti depressant drugs with no ill side effects. And the fact that there is so many to choose from is part of the reason for this. To explain I’d like to talk about the side effects of anti depressants that my opponent has brought up so dramatically in his last post by listing all of the possible side effects.

Well different brands have different side effects; the side effects are not universal for all the different anti depressants on the market, many patients have to try several different brands before they find the one that works for them. This is why the fact there is so many brands is the reason we can treat 45% of people with symptoms of depression. And for the sake of argument not 35% or 25% instead.

And to prove my point I would like to show you one example as a sort of case study if you will about a university paper reporter who talks about his depression:

The best solution is diagnosis of those in trouble and prescription medicine to counter the effects of the mental illness.
My life has been changed for the better since I started taking antidepressants. I must have tried half a dozen or so different brands until I found one that worked, and since then I'm on the track to better my life and create a stable happiness for myself and the people I care about. ml

I think this answers my opponent’s question:

“If there are virtually no differences in the chemical makeup of these drugs, why do we need over 30 different brands of them?”

To answer my opponent’s next question:

“In what ways are these drugs helpful to people who most likely have not even been diagnosed as needing them?”

I would like to answer with a slightly modified point I made in my opening statement and I feel that should suffice:

“You can’t blame the amount of drugs in production around the world for the problems that arise from drug use, abuse or wrongful prescription.

The amount of mental illness drugs in production around the world has no influence over a doctor who decides to prescribe these medicines. It’s like my opponent has the opinion from his facts that doctors think “oh there are loads of these mental illness drugs in production it won’t hurt to give them away for no reason to my patients”

I don’t mean to sound pernickety with the above statement I just wish to show how stale this argument my opponent is using in relevance to the debate title. Especially considering the fact I have answered that better training for doctors who prescribe these medicines and a change in the system of how these medicines are prescribed would be the answer to this problem. Scaling back the amount of anti-depressants on the market would on the other hand only serve to increase the problems of depression as explained above it takes many patients trying many different brands before finding the one that suits them.

And to answer my opponents last question:

“Do you think that the constant increase in the recognition of mental illness has anything to do with the flooding of the market with the drugs? Especially taking into consideration that most patients are never even diagnosed?”

I think the increase in recognition of mental illness does have something to do with the flooding of the markets with mental illness drugs. Its simple economic market forces at work. Increased recognition increases demand which gives manufacturers the green light to put more money into research and develop more of the required medicines. This isn’t a bad thing in my opinion the more money put into research means the more break troughs’ that will be made and maybe we cant start treating some more of those 55% percent with depression who can’t take the medicines currently on the market already.

And for the second question within the same question:

Especially taking into consideration that most patients are never even diagnosed?”

I think my opponent is ignoring one vital point here and that is according to his own post this question is aimed at anti-depressants and I think it is very sneaky that he has used this question within a question in a question that has the main point about mental illness drugs overall. I would like to bring to the attention of our readers that most patients with a mental illness are not miss-diagnosed.

The classification of a mental illness can be hard due to our current understanding of the issues but there are clearly defined guidelines that classify mental disorders that can be found in - Chapter V of the International Classification of Diseases, produced by the World Health Organization, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders produced by the American Psychiatric Association.

Whilst depression is sometimes miss-diagnosed and we should have a change to the system of how anti-depressants are prescribed. There are another 374 classified mental illnesses that are less common place and much more focus is put into diagnosis by professionals with these other 374 mental illnesses not family doctors like can sometimes be the case with the more common symptoms of depression.

This is why I modified my opponents question earlier in this post - “Are these drugs/anti-depressants really helping anyone?”. The real question of this debate is do - "The Amount Of Prescription Drugs On The Market For The Treatment Of Mental Illness Heavily Out Weigh The Consumer's Need For Them."

So far we have concentrated solely on depression and I think I have answered my opponent’s questions and concerns about the amount of drugs available on the market for depression fairly and conclusively. In my next post I will delve into whether there are enough drugs for mental illness available on the market for all mental illnesses.

posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 03:05 PM
Before I get into my next area of concentration here, I would like to take one last step back to something my opponent seems unable to acknowledge. I have seen the point made again and again here that most patients with mental illness are not miss-diagnosed. As much as I hate to, I actually have to agree with my opponent here. You see, had attention been paid to my previous posts, my opponent would have realized that is fairly hard to be miss-diagnosed, when you have never been diagnosed at all. I refer you again to the study by the New England Research Institute in which it was found that 43 percent of those taking prescribed medication were never diagnosed with any mental illness at all. How could it be that so many people are given medication without a diagnosis? It seems as though we have come to a stage in America were all a person needs to do to get a prescription for antidepressants is simply ask.

Moving on, I’d like to go ahead and jump ahead in the discussion a little. My opponent wants to delve into whether or not there are enough drugs available for all mental illnesses, and that is something I will be more than happy to do.

First off, let’s take a look at exactly how many drugs there are available right now for all types of mental illness. For the sake of space here, I won’t list each drug that is available because there are far too many. I will however, refer you to this website in which a master list of medication is given.

From this list, we can see that there are at least 124 different types of mental illness medications specifically prescribed for adults. We can also see that there are at least 32 types of drugs available specifically for children! Is there really enough demand for these types of drugs in America that we need over 150 different brands? Let’s explore this a bit further.

Antidepressant sales constitute the largest segment of the medicine market, approximately 24%. In 2004, global sales of antidepressant agents exceeded $15 billion. Japan is currently a relatively unimportant market for antidepressants, constituting about 5% of the global market; Europe (19%) and especially the United States (71%) account for most of the global sales of antidepressants. Amazing isn’t it? America accounts for over 70% of all antidepressant sales in the world! Why is this? Are American citizens really that depressed? Or could it be simply because these drugs are so readily available in this country?

Let’s be a little more specific in our examination of the increase in mental illness prescriptions though, let’s take a look at children in particular. Each year, antidepressant use among children and adolescents grows by 10 percent, according to a study published in the April 2004 issue of Psychiatric Services. Among these children, preschoolers account for the biggest increase in use. That’s right, preschoolers!

In a random, nationwide survey, researchers for Express Scripts studied prescription claim information of over two million commercially-insured young people, aged 18 and under, from 1998 to 2002. The study resulted in the following conclusions:

• Preschoolers, aged 0 - 5, accounted for the greatest increase in use.

• Among the entire sample of children, antidepressant use increased 49% from 1998 (when it was 1.6%) to 2002 (2.4%).

• Girls accounted for a greater increase in use (68%) than boys (34%) over the course of the study.

• Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were used most often while tricyclic antidepressants were used least.

• During the study, paroxetine (Paxil) use increased 113% in females and 91% in males.

"A number of factors acting together or independently may have led to escalated use of antidepressants among children and adolescents," said Tom Delate, Ph.D., Director of Research at Express Scripts, in a news release.

According to Delate, one of these factors included:

“Increasing assumption by health providers that the medications helping adults will also help children and teens. There is the concern that antidepressants are being prescribed to youths without adequate information about their safety and efficiency in this population. “

Still don’t think these drugs are handed out too frequently to young children? Take a look at the following article, in which a young girl died from complications from her antidepressant medication.


Granted the parents are mostly to blame in this case, but the questions must be raised if this little girl should have ever been prescribed this medicine at all.

Children are at the mercy of their parents and the medical profession when it comes to prescription medication. Increasingly, psychotropic drugs are being prescribed for children who have been diagnosed with depression or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Are we choosing to medicate because it is cheaper than evaluation and therapy? I think that question needs to be asked. I also think it pertinent to question whether or not so many children would be given these drugs if they were not so readily available.

I still believe that answer is no.

posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 05:09 PM

I refer you again to the study by the New England Research Institute in which it was found that 43 percent of those taking prescribed medication were never diagnosed with any mental illness at all. How could it be that so many people are given medication without a diagnosis? It seems as though we have come to a stage in America were all a person needs to do to get a prescription for antidepressants is simply ask.

After reading the above it is I that believe my opponent has not acknowledged my argument. These patients from the study were prescribed medication by doctors. I can’t argue that there is evidence that prescriptions for anti-depressants are being issued in some cases regardless of symptoms or with no diagnosis. That is the fault of the doctors prescribing these medicines. Not because of how many mental illness drugs are in production or on the market.

My opponent then goes on to use his whole post for explaining that children are being prescribed anti-depressants in alarming numbers. And Americans have the highest rate of consumption for anti-depressant medication any where in the world.

The reason I have underlined prescribed every time mentioned above is because I agree with my opponent in what he is saying. Too many anti-depressants are being wrongfully prescribed to patients who do not need them. That is not important here though because we are debating:

"The Amount Of Prescription Drugs On The Market For The Treatment Of Mental Illness Heavily Out Weigh The Consumer's Need For Them."

We are not debating whether doctors are wrongfully prescribing anti-depressants to the American population. And we are not debating whether doctors are not diagnosing depression and just giving away prescriptions for the fun of it. We are however looking at whether there is a need for more or less drugs for mental illness on the American markets.

The reason I continue to press this issue is because I want the readers of this debate to see that the amount of mental illness drugs in production and available on the market has no influence over whether a doctor prescribes his patients with these drugs. And you can’t blame a huge market of available resources for the failings of doctors who prescribe these anti-depressants to those who don’t need them. This is a failure in the system that training and a change to the system can solve. In no way could wrongful prescriptions be solved by having less anti-depressant on the market.

Now to continue on with the actual debate topic about whether the supply outweighs the consumer need for mental illness medications. I would like to look at the positive attributes of having a wide variety of mental illness drugs readily available.

I have already covered the fact that it often takes the trying of several different brands before finding the one that works for patients. I have also covered the fact that in the case of depression not enough people can take anti-depressants because of current side effects which is going to mean more money and research being poured into developing more effective anti-depressants with less harmful side effects. This is going to lead to the anti-depressant market growing even bigger. Which is a good thing because then half the people who are suffering from depression that cant take the current medicines will one day be able to take medicine to help them with there condition. And allow them to live fuller happier lives. Like the university student from my case study.

The mixing of medications can also be an issue to consider for this debate. A lot of people have to take more than one medication. A lot of medications can’t be mixed because of one chemical in both types of medication could lead to an overdose or just as bad could combine to poison the patient. This is another reason why lots of different brands with slight differentiations in chemical make up can help medical professionals when it comes to prescribing medicines.

There is also the advice of the medical professionals that can be taken into account in this debate. I have yet to find after two days of searching a report a study or even a comment by a medical professional stating that there can be to many drugs on the market for any illness let alone a mental illness. What I do find though in most cases is praise for mental illness medicines and how they help people to lead better lives.

Like this excerpt I found on a source provided by my opponent:

conditions can be diagnosed and treated. Most people can live better lives after treatment. And psychotherapeutic medications are an increasingly important element in the successful treatment of mental illness.
Medications for mental illnesses were first introduced in the early 1950s with the antipsychotic chlorpromazine. Other medications have followed. These medications have changed the lives of people with these disorders for the better.
Psychotherapeutic medications also may make other kinds of treatment more effective.

Another important point to bring up here is that as stated from the above quote mental illness medications can also help in other treatments as well. And with a wider variety to choose from surely the benefit goes to the American people for having these options available to them.

In my next post I’d like to discuss the rise in the amount of mental illness cases that has lead to the need for more drugs not less.

posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 08:56 AM
Well, once again my opponent has resorted to blaming the doctors for the excessive amounts of medication flooding the market today. There were many interesting comments made in the previous post, but there is one in particular I would like to focus on with my last reply.

“I have yet to find after two days of searching, a report, a study, or even a comment by a medical professional stating that there can be too many drugs on the market for any illness, let alone mental illness.”

Obviously my opponent is unaware of how to conduct proper research. Within minutes of searching I came across this article from TIME magazine, in which the following is documented:

“Prescription drugs would be cheaper and more effective if manufacturers would market fewer of them,” says Dr. Walter Modell of Cornell University Medical College, one of America's foremost drug experts.”"Will they realize that there are too many drugs for the patient, for the physician, and, surprisingly enough, for the pharmaceutical industry?"

No fewer than 150,000 preparations are now in use, of which 90% did not exist 25 years ago, and 75% did not exist ten years ago. About 15,000 new mixtures and dosages hit the market each year, while about 12,000 die off.

These figures, says Dr. Modell, “reflect the fact that new drugs are often introduced not because they are better than existing drugs or because there is a real need for them, but "to horn in on a market which has been created by someone else's discovery."

Interesting isn’t it? It seems as though there is at least some in the medical community who share the belief that the amount of drugs on the market outweighs the consumers need.

Another quick search brought me to this archived article from the UNESCO Courier in which the following is quoted:

“The number of drugs needed to satisfy all human needs is very small. The Expert Committees of the World Heath Organization (WHO), which since 1977 have drawn up and revised the Model List of Essential Drugs, have had the task of selecting drugs which are necessary and sufficient to treat 95% of all diseases and of all human symptoms susceptible to treatment by drugs. The 1985 edition of the list names 379 products containing 262 active substances. If the aim were to satisfy 99% instead of 95% of all needs, the figure would probably rise to 350 substances in 500 products. Yet the number of drugs on sale in highly developed countries nearly everywhere exceeds 15,000, containing between 700 and 1,100 active substances.”

Obviously this study is slightly outdated, but since that time the need for new substances has increased only slightly, while production of new medication has skyrocketed! According the recent article I quoted above from TIME, there are now over 150,000 products on the market! Why would this be?

The medical industry has become nothing more than a business. It is the job of the doctors and pharmaceutical companies to sell you their product, often whether you really need it or not. With so many drugs floating around it has become far too easy to simply write a prescription than to treat and diagnose a patient. I believe the only real solution to this problem is to place limits and restrictions on the production of medication. Lecturing the doctors will do nothing to fix this situation.

posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 03:50 PM

Well, once again my opponent has resorted to blaming the doctors for the excessive amounts of medication flooding the market today.

I feel with the above comment my opponent is trying to bate me into responding negatively and cover the same ground over and over in order to make me lose focus on the real issue of this debate.

I will reaffirm that I think in the case of anti-depressants doctors need better training when it comes to prescribing anti-depressants. And a change in the system of how they are prescribed and maybe who they are prescribed by would make the difference here. Limiting the amount of anti-depressants available for patients would on the other hand have a negative effect.

In this debate I have not once blamed doctors for the amount of anti-depressants that are available on the market, so I have no idea where my opponent has come up with the logic for making the above statement.

My opponent then goes onto boast about his better use of google to find an article from 1961 to refute my claim about not being able to find doctors who say there are too many drugs in production around the world. The real challenge to my opponent was to find a doctor who said there were to many mental illness drugs in production.

Pharmaceutical companies spend millions on research and development just to introduce one new drug to the market. And the reason they do this is because when it comes to a medical solution new medications are a cost effective way for treating people with illness. Take a look at this article explaining about this:

By almost any measure, pharmaceuticals are a good value compared with other healthcare interventions. Medications cure and prevent diseases and disabilities, save lives, and improve quality of life. Medications also can reduce the need for surgery, hospitalizations, and other costly healthcare services. Evidence indicates that the more we spend on medications, the more we save in total healthcare expenditures.

Yes drugs are produced for profit ultimately but so is any product on the market. Drugs are in massive demand for the reasons stated above in the article and that is why so many are produced overall.

Anyway back to the topic of debate. I would like to discuss about the rise in the number of mental illness conditions that are now being recognised.

At the beginning of the century there were only a handful of officially recognized mental health conditions. By the mid century there were 192 and today the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Fourth Edition lists 374.

Cases of depression have also increased dramatically even according to my opponents research this is true. This is all mainly down to being able to recognise the symptoms more clearly.

This is why demand for cost effective medications instead of costly counselling and other costly alternative treatments has led to an increase in the amount of drugs being produced to combat the growing number of cases of mental illness being recognised in the modern world. As our understanding of the mind gets more advanced combined with the growing number of people in western civilisation being stressed the numbers could continue to grow even further leading to even more demand for drugs.

With this though also comes the ability to research and develop more effective drugs, pharmaceutical companies aren’t there yet in terms of developing drugs that have amazing results when it comes to fighting off the growing numbers of mental illness cases. Eventually though amazing drugs will begin to roll out. And with that the less effective drugs will be taken off the market.

We are in the early stages of being able to combat mental illness with drugs but we will get there. And making pharmaceutical companies research and develop less will only make this transition slower with adverse effects to the people that already rely on the medications that are available already.

posted on Jul, 10 2008 @ 10:08 AM
Ladies and gentlemen, my opponent is a broken record.

The only consistent point that has been made in this debate is that my opponent believes that so many drugs are good thing because there are so many illnesses.

Despite the fact that I have shown repeatedly that a large portion of these drugs are given out without proper diagnosis, my opponent insists that everyone receiving drugs must truly need them; and that the increase in prescriptions is simply due to our ability to recognize symptoms better.

Despite the fact that I have brought to light that although there are over 150,000 medications on the market, we could treat 95% of all symptoms with a fraction of those, my opponent insists that each and every one of these is necessary. (On a side note my opponents reading ability is once again called into question as my previous article was quoted as being from 1961, even though it clearly states the study was completed in 1985)

My opponent has continually given us statistics about the increase in the number of mental illness cases and expects us to believe that this is because there are simply more mental illnesses. Even though I have repeatedly made the case that the number of cases has risen simply because it has become too easy to attain these drugs without diagnosis.

We have reached a stage in this country where any parent can take their child to the doctor and receive a mental illness medication simply because their children “act like children.” We have reached a stage where anytime someone says they “feel down,” we quickly write them a prescription and move on. I have shown effectively in this debate that we have reached this stage due to the overwhelming amount of drugs on the market. Our medical community has become conditioned to prescribe first, ask questions later. The ease of availability of these drugs has led to doctors who prefer to hand out pills rather than seek the real root of the problem, or often times even determine if there really is a problem at all.

My argument is not that mental illness drugs should be done away with or restricted to a point where they are completely unattainable, but rather to limit their production to a point where only people who really need them receive them.

In closing I would like to thank MemoryShock and the ATS community for hosting this debate. I would also like to thank Argos for a wonderful time and a great fight. I'll see you guys in the pub....I'm thirsty!

posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 06:10 AM
My opponent would like you to believe that the more mental illness drugs there are on the market. The more doctors and health professionals will prescribe them without need. He would also like you to think that restricting this market would mean only people who really need these drugs will have access to them.

What I fail to understand about this argument though is why doctors will suddenly change there methods simply because there are less brands available in the market place.

Through out this debate I have shown that new medicine and abundance of these medicines in the market is a good thing. And I’ll list a summary of my reasons why:

- Patients often need to try several brands to find the one that works for them.
- A wide variety of drugs with slightly different chemical make ups helps when having to take more than one medicine at the same time.
- There is large demand because of increasing cases of depression and more mental health conditions being recognised.
- More drugs means less expenditure on healthcare overall.
- A large and demanding market leads to more research and more breakthroughs.

My argument put simply is this:

“What harm is there in having more drugs than fewer on the market that might help people who need them?”

My opponents argument for restricting this market is that doctors give away to many anti-depressants without forming a proper diagnosis. As I have explained many times, this argument just doesn’t cut the mustard for me. Especially when I consider the good it does us to have an abundance ready and available for those who need them.

Just a little side not before I finish off. The article from the Time magazine was from Friday, May. 26, 1961 have a look for your self below. Or check via my opponents fourth post, first link yourself. Its not really of any consequence I just felt I needed to save face.

Well it’s been one heck of a debate certainly wasn’t expecting a marathon for my first debate back for a while but kudos to nyk537 for an amazing battle and thanks to MemoryShock for moderating for us. Its been a pleasure everyone till nest time.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 12:54 AM
Excellent job on both sides, to the judges we go.

posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 12:18 AM
I thank these Fighters for their patience...and finally we have a judgment.

Argos has been determined the winner.

The judges comments...

I scored the debate 3 stars to one in favor of "Argos".

"nyk537" scored a single blow with the concept that the drug companies pushing drugs for profit have led to in an increased awareness in doctors of the benefits of proscribing them.

"Argos" scored with pointing out that the fault, even as described by his opponent, lay with the doctors, and not the number of drugs at their disposal.

He also pointed out that the variety allowed for the better tailoring of useable drugs to the needs of the individual.

"Argos also refused to be baited or sidetracked by "nyk" into arguing lesser or OT areas, and this refusal kept him focused on the real issue as outlined in this debate.

I show member "Argos" the clear winner.

I'll pick Argos the substantive winner. While he had a few points that should have been made MUCH stronger, his assertions were nonetheless sufficiently stronger than those countered by nyk537. I also felt nyk537 was unnecessarily snide in a few places, and he certainly missed many opportunities to easily prevail in his positions.

"To determine a winner between two such excellent debaters is a difficult task. I was truly swayed back and forth as I read each once, twice or even three times. Both were sneaky enough to circumvent the actual debate topic with many side roads. But the topic was not whether prescription drugs are good or not but whether the supply heavily exceeds the demand. I think this debate showed that the supply does exceed the demand by far, with argos merely adding that oversupply is a good thing. By interpreting the debate title in this strictest sense, nyk wins the debate"

I want to reiterate the fact that this was a well fought debate and that I would love to see both Fighters in the future. Again, excellent debate, gentlemen.

posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 01:30 AM
Thankyou judges i know you guys have had a heavy debate forum workload recently. I, and im sure nyk aswell, are really greatful for your time and comments.

Nyk my friend a rematch is available to you when ever you want it. This was my toughest debate so far and i really aprecciate your quick responses and tough debating style, you really had me going there and i was not sure at all how the judges were going to score.

Also i would like to say thanks once more to Memoryshock who makes so much possible on this debate forum with all the time he commits.

Right im off for a drink, pub quiz tonight

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