Baby Boomers are entering their Golden Years
The generation of Americans known as the Baby Boomers is the largest generation in the history of the United State. A Baby Boomer is generally defined as anyone who was born between 1946 and 1964. A few years ago, the first Boomers officially turned sixty. In the coming years, millions upon millions of Boomers will enter their sixties and will increasingly rely on pharmaceuticals to deal with the ailments of old age. We must also take into account that while previous generations were skeptical of prescription drugs, the Boomers were the first to truly embrace pharmaceuticals and to believe that they were the answer to many of their physical problems. It is also important to note that the aging trend is not relegated to the US. Most countries in Eastern Europe report that they have many more people using walkers than riding skateboards. In fact the Census Bureau in the US has reported that the number of people sixty-five and older will double in the next fifteen years. The undeniable truth is that most of these nations have aging populations. And since people in the over sixty-five-age group purchase over forty percent of all pharmaceuticals, it is inevitable that we will see a big increase in the demand for these medications. The only question, really, is how big?
People are living longer than ever before
There are several reasons the average American can expect to live longer than he or she would have just a generation before. To begin with, cancers and other diseases that were considered all but incurable only decades ago, have much higher survivability rates than at any time in history. The American population has also taken heed of advances in nutritional science and is taking more vitamins and supplements than it did in the past. And lastly, Americans have finally been convinced about the dangers of smoking. According to recent statistics, only about twenty-five percent of Americans identify themselves as smokers, which is the lowest rate on record. This is good news for the pharmaceutical companies, because the longer people live the more medications they will buy.
More Chronic Diseases
Although most people would love to live to see one hundred years, there is a flipside to the increase in life expectancy rates, and that is the increasing rates of chronic diseases. It is a sad fact of nature that the longer a person lives the more likely he or she is to be diagnosed with a chronic disease like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. There are also diseases that are age specific like Alzheimer's disease. Though most of these chronic diseases cannot be cured, pharmaceuticals are used to limit pain and increase life spans. Many of these medications have shown early success, which is why they are so frequently prescribed by doctors. Other diseases that were once difficult to treat, like diabetes, can now be controlled with medication. Though this is great news, with the aging of our population and increased life expectancy, doctors anticipate a deluge of chronic age-related diseases in the near future.