In the UK where access to healthcare is free, the practicalities behind our access to it can often be overlooked. It is only when a service or medication is unavailable or available at a cost that we are reminded of the business side of the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, pharmaceuticals is a very competitive sector and goes a lot deeper than one would first consider.
With the current political climate it is looking as though further cuts to the NHS are imminent whether we like it or not; there is the fear that prescription medicines may be the one of the first to be hit. However, when you look into the process of releasing of any form of drug, from children’s Calpol to ibuprofen to specific liquid medicine to advanced chemotherapy treatments, there are many stages required before they are deemed safe for consumption. This means that whilst looking for cheaper alternatives seems like a good idea, it can be problematic.
Also, buying medicines over the internet might seem convenient, but there is a danger by it. There are websites that sell prescription drugs that are not safe to use without a health professional’s advice.
Pharmacy research before a drug is even spoken about in the mainstream involves the preliminary testing, then once this is approved the clinical trials. Furthermore, there are vast discussions regarding potential use, reactions, care and the necessary prescription and delivery expectations. All of this requires an extensive legal process before the medication can even be distributed to pharmacies.
There is an entire logistical industry behind pharmaceuticals that is paramount to its success and, therefore, the health of its consumers. Pharmacy wholesalers are responsible for managing entire supply chains of medication with management requirements where a mistake, is quite literally, a life or death matter.
Of course the extent of these regulations add to the expense of prescriptions, should you have to pay for them. Yet without it the consumer’s health is endangered. For instance, Poundworld was fined £5,000 by the MHRA for selling damaged thermometers deemed potentially dangerous as they were showing inaccurate readings, as well as unsatisfactory bandages, plasters and dressings. Cutting costs when it comes to something as simple as a thermometer should not ring alarm bells, but this simple device can mean serious fevers might be overlooked and correct treatments missed, which is not worth the risk.
So while paying for medication can seem overly expensive, especially with young families that seem to attract all different types of illnesses. it is important to realise that the safety regulations required for their proper distribution and use may result in them costing more. When shopping for simple first aid materials be sure to get them from a certified provider, medical goods include the CE mark to show their authority and always speak to your doctor immediately if any unexpected side effects come from any type of medication.
*This was a guest post