What do you think is the most commonly prescribed drug in Ireland by doctors?
It’s about cholesterol – and the drug to lower your blood-cholesterol called Atorvastatin.
In fact, cholesterol lowering drugs are the most commonly prescribed drugs world wide.
The next most commonly prescribed drug is for treating excess stomach acid using a drug called Omeprazole.
Millions of these drugs are prescribed every year, in Ireland, to public and private patients.
The third most common drug is for pain relief, Co-codamol.
Next comes Salbutamol for respiratory problems, like asthma or COPD, then aspirin for pain relief or to prevent heart attacks and then drugs for high blood pressure and depression.
Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, you and your family only have to pay a maximum of €80 each month for approved drugs in Ireland.
People with medical cards get these drugs at no cost.
What was the first drug used by humans to treat conditions?
Opium, derived from the poppy plant, is one of the earliest known substances used for its medicinal properties. It was used by ancient civilizations for pain relief and relaxation.
In the US last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved CSL Behring’s hemophilia B gene therapy Hemgenix, a one-off infusion that costs a whopping $3.5 million a dose, making it the world’s most expensive drug.
In Ireland each year, the State spends over €2.5 billion on medicines – that’s around 14% of the total health budget.
And just like the number of prescription drugs issued every year, it’s only going to grow further.
Most sectors contracted during the Covid-19 pandemic, but not healthcare and certainly not the manufacturing and sale of medicines.
New medicines are being developed all the time however they can be very expensive in the early years as drug companies seek to recoup their research and development costs and make some profit.