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Nearly every Australian takes a pill for what ails them


Australians over 14 are loading up on pain relievers, decongestants, prescription meds and more.

Almost 90% of Australians over 14 have taken some form of medication within the past 12 months according to new research from Roy Morgan.

General medication like Panadol and Nurofen are the most popular form of medication, finding its way into the medicine cabinets of 77% of all Aussies. This is followed by allergy/cold&flu medication like Sudafed and Telfast (43%). Close behind are vitamins and supplements (43%), with antacids like Gaviscon and Mylanta coming in at a distant fourth (26%).

These numbers also indicate that many people are taking medications from more than one of these categories.

Another interesting finding to come out of the report is that women are more likely than men to take most types of medication. Last year, 93% of the female population took some form of medication compared to 85% of men. The only exception is heart and circulatory medication, where men edge out women 20% to 19%.

This lines up with Roy Morgan's research showing that women are also more likely to report an illness than their male counterparts, with 96% and 93% reporting an illness in the past year respectively.

According to the ABS, prescription medications dispensed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme decreased by 4% between the 2015/16 financial year and the 2016/17 financial year. More data would be needed to determine if there is a trend away from prescription medication and toward over-the-counter medication (which is mainly what's being reported in the Roy Morgan survey).

That wouldn't be a bad thing considering how the issue of "over-prescription" has become quite prevalent in recent years, especially in relation to antibiotics and mental health drugs.

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