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German insurer finds a third of people over 65 take five or more drugs a day

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3905 (Published 14 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3905
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. 1Hamburg

Germany’s senior citizens are taking too many prescription drugs while the number of children and young people being prescribed antipsychotic drugs has risen sharply since 2005 for no apparent medical reason, a report has found.

The annual pharmaceutical report, commissioned by Barmer GEK—one of Germany’s largest public health insurers—is based on prescriptions and diagnoses in 2012 for 9.1 million people insured through Barmer.1

It found that 33% of the 2.1 million people it insured over the age of 65 took five or more prescription drugs each day, while 11% took eight or more per day. Barmer, which spent nearly €4bn (£3.4bn; $5.3bn) …

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