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Access to Vital Medicine: What We Need to Know

Meta: Lack of access to vital medicine is a serious public health issue worldwide. Read on to learn about the actual problems, the role of duty-bearers, and potential solutions.

According to a 2012 study, more than two-thirds of the world population living in the developing and underdeveloped countries have no access to vital medicine. While this may seem just like another stat on paper, the real-time scenario is far worse than you can ever imagine.


Can you imagine someone dying from simple diarrhea or a common cold? This is what is actually happening in the developing world. Therefore, such a dire situation warrants immediate attention from every stakeholder which includes national governments, theinternational community, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Access to Vital Medicine: What Are the Problems?

Despite some serious efforts to ensure access to vital medicine, certain problems still persist. In fact, public health in the developing world is marred by two principal factors. They are:

  • Drug shortage
  • Low-quality drugs that fail to deliver the expected treatment outcomes

Whenever we talk of about vital medicine, the key determinants of its accessibility are its cost and effectiveness. No doubt, the WHO has a list of essential medicines. The selection of medicines on the list is based on their cost and effectiveness. But the real problem occurs when these drugs are not available in local healthcare organizations. Many factors influence this. For example, geographical location (aproblem for a landlocked country), pricing issues, lack of storage facilities, and socioeconomic conditions of a particular nation.

Let’s take an example. A local governmental health organization has enough vital medicine, but when the patient reaches the facility to seek help, the medicines are already degraded due to poor storage conditions. This case is more relevant to vaccines that need to be stored at a certain temperature to maintain their potency and efficacy.

Take another example. Political instability and worsening social conditions cause medicine delivery delay. It is very unfortunate that many developing countries have piles of medicines lying somewhere in the warehouse.

Regrettably, this is just the tip of the iceberg and more complex situations prevent the impoverished citizens from getting their basic healthcare needs fulfilled. In fact, this is a major blow to the international law that states everyone has the same right to health.

Aftermath of Lack of Access to Vital Medicine

When people cannot get access to vital medicine, they turn to private pharmacy services. As a result, they have to pay a greater amount for the same medicine which would otherwise be available at a minimal cost. Moreover, the quality of the medicine on the market often comes under scrutiny.

Altogether, such a situation only complicates the matter, putting a big question on the roles of local government and NGOs.

How to Improve Access to Vital Medicine

As a matter of fact, this is one of the most difficult questions to answer. Even if we find an answer, everything is not going to be fine overnight. It will take decades before the people get access to vital medicine.

Here, we attempt to explore the roles of key stakeholders.

  • The role of the local government. Naturally, it is the duty of the local government to ensure their citizens are getting access to vital medicine. In essence, they are the primary duty bearer. If they do not work to resolve the issue, there is no point blaming the international community or the NGOs. It is commonly seen that the governments of poor countries spend only a small fraction of the budget in healthcare. Experts believe if a country spends 15% of the national budget on healthcare, the poor people will have no major problems getting their health needs fulfilled. Unfortunately, this is something which many poor people can only imagine. The reality is different–in fact, harsh. To solve this issue, in part, economists recommend cutting down taxes on medicines so that the end-user prices reduce by a huge margin.
  • The role of theinternational The rich nations approve certain amounts to fund the healthcare needs of the poor people. But, at times, problems arise when they fail to live up to their commitments. Cutting funds will have a major impact on how healthcare organizations in poor countries function. Therefore, it is very important that the international community respects the declarations and joint agreements.
  • The role of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs are often regarded as the bridge that connects the donor nations with a country’s public healthcare organizations. Their role is even more crucial considering they come in a direct contact with the patients. Not only this, they also play a major role in raising health awareness, disease prevention, and general health maintenance. Unfortunately, many NGOs are focused only on specific diseases such HIV/AIDS or TB. This seriously impacts how people with other diseases get access to vital medicine. For this reason, Millennium Declaration recommends a wider area of work for the NGOs.


Key Takeaways

  • Lack of access to vital medicine is a serious global health issue. More than 2 billion people in developing countries lack access to vital medicine.
  • The major causes of an inadequate access to vital medicine are drug shortage, low-quality drug, and socioeconomic and political scenario in the state.
  • Local government, theinternationalcommunity, and NGOs are accountable stakeholders. The list is in decreasing order of responsibility. Other minor stakeholders are pharmaceutical companies.
  • The most effective solution for this problem is a collaborative effort among the major stakeholders.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about access to vital medicine and its impact on global health, visit Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

Bath Salt Abuse

The drugs widely sold as bath salts, and other similar names, are alleged to produce dramatic effects in their users. Perhaps one of the most famous incidents of apparent bath salt abuse involved a spate of horrific attacks, including cannibalism.

These instances were widely reported as being caused by these drugs, but after further information was unveiled, there was no evidence of bath salt abuse found in these cases. As a result, these drugs were widely maligned with little real evidence, and numerous myths have sprung up about their use. The facts about bath salts are disturbing on their own, but further investigation found that there was no evidence they cause “zombie-like” behavior.


The basis of these drugs lies in the khat plant, a shrub that grows in east Africa and parts of the Arabian peninsula. The plant produces cathinones, which act in a similar way to amphetamines. They act as stimulants on the central nervous system.

Signs and Symptoms

As with most stimulants, bath salt use leads to:

  • Rapid heart rate.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Dilated pupils.

This increases the risk of heart attack and stroke during even short-term use. Bath salts have been associated with headaches and palpitations in a significant number of users. Increased sexual stimulation has been associated with bath salts, potentially leading to risky sexual activities.

Mephedrone (Meow)


Physical symptoms are not the only signs of bath salt use, however. If a loved one is using bath salts, you might notice that he has lost his appetite and no longer eats as much as he did. If your loved one is at school, you might notice that her grades have dropped and that her sleeping patterns have changed. For those who work, changes in work ethic and serious sleep disturbances might occur. The person might even lose his or her job thanks to erratic behavior.

Effects of Bath Salt Abuse

Long-term abuse of bath salts appears to result in effects similar to amphetamines:

  • Psychosis.
  • Dizziness.
  • Heart problems.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Ulcers.
  • Mood disorders.
  • Total loss of coordination.

Media outlets have reported serious disturbances as being a side effect of bath salt use. The Miami cannibal incident in May 2012 was widely reported as being a bath salts-caused attack, although the investigation could not determine the ultimate cause of the apparent psychosis.

Mental health disorders cover a wide range of issues, including severe depression and attempts at suicide. People might also self-mutilate and become delirious. Death is not uncommon.

Ultimately, the most dangerous side effect of bath salts appears to be addiction, which causes users to lose touch with reality and lose their sense of self-control. While there are few studies on bath salts that show an addictive potential, the stimulation of certain neural pathways indicates that these drugs work in a similar way to amphetamines, creating similar addiction profiles.


When a loved one’s bath salts abuse spirals out of control, bath salts rehabis an option. Signs that an addiction has occurred usually involves a pattern of abuse that is destructive and carries on despite negative side effects. Usually, this might involve missing school or work, a failure to follow through with financial obligations, missing family obligations, or recurrent legal issues.

Once an addiction has been identified, it’s best to talk to the person. The key is to persuade your loved one to get help. Aim to understand why the addiction happened and don’t take anything personally; the drugs may well be talking, not the person you love.

Fears and Phobias Related to the Doctor: How to Conquer your Fears

Meta: Fears and phobias are common. But they should not keep you from getting proper medical help. Read on to find how you can win over your fears.

Do you fear visiting the doctor? Does the sight of blood or injuriesFEARS & PHOBIAS overwhelm you? You are not alone. In fact, many people do not love paying visits to the doctor’s office. These fears and phobias may not cause an immediate harm to your health. Nevertheless, in the long run, avoiding doctor visits can be hazardous. Learn more about the measures to overcome the fear and participate actively in your treatment plan.

Doctor Anxiety: Fears and Phobias That Are Not Rational

No doubt, it is frightening to imagine a doctor piercing your vein with a sharp needle. In this case, the perceived feelings of harm may be natural. But the big question is, would you not take the medicine just to avoid the fear? This is where the fears and phobias differ from a type of anxiety problem called doctor anxiety.

In fact, a small percentage of patients may be too much afraid of the doctor and medical procedures that they may run away from a medical consultation.

From the psychological viewpoint, fear arises when the mind takes some people, conditions or events as a threat to one’s health, security, or even identity. The same applies in the case of doctor anxiety as well.

There are at least two possible ways the mind can connect with the hospitals and doctors. First, it can think them as a savior and provider of relief. Next, as a source of pain, blood injuries, and sickness. Both the perceptions are partially right. But the real problem stems from the fact that in many people, the negative perceptions trump the positive ones.

You should understand that these fears and phobias do not have much relevance when it comes to getting emergency help. However, in the case of preventive approaches, they may increase the risk of many diseases. For example, routine doctor visits and blood glucose tests are essential if you are a diabetic. Such healthy practice helps to keep the blood glucose in check while reducing the risk of complications. But what would you do if the fear of the injections overrides the fear of complications?

What Are Common Fears And Phobias?

Depending on a person’s psychology, past experience, and emotional support system in the family, common fears may include those of:

  • Does the memory of sharp needles raise your heartbeat every time you see a doctor? In fact, the fear seems reasonable, as you do not want to harm yourself. In some cases, it can be so overwhelming that the patients end up losing their consciousness. The needles may also be used to draw blood for a test. For this reason, the fear of injections presents a serious public health issue.
  • Getting a life-threatening diagnosis. Are you afraid what you will do if the test gives a positive HIV result? In this case, you may run away from the test because you cannot accept what the test brings.
  • Blood injuries. The sight of blood injuries or fresh blood can initiate a number of physical as well as psychological symptoms in some patients. For example, excessive sweating, shakiness, and even fainting.
  • Exposure to an uncomfortable situation. For example, mammography could cause problems for some women. Similarly, tests that involve private parts such as colonoscopy and prostate biopsy are more than just uncomfortable. Essentially, it also depends on the socio-cultural background of the patients.

How to Beat the Fears and Phobias

Unfortunately, you cannot expect to overcome your fears with just a single attempt. But when you practice the following measures on a regular basis, they can provide relief.

  • Identify the triggers. “Know what overwhelms you”. At times, people do not exactly know what is making them anxious. Therefore, the first step is to gain insight of the triggers, their frequency, and pattern. If you have a traumatic childhood experience that might be causing problems currently, seek help from a psychologist. Then, you can move to the next step.
  • Do not anticipate. Face the fears rationally. Keep in mind that your fear will only grow if you run away. For example, if you are going for a cancer test, plan what you will do if the test is positive. Remember what would have happened if the cancer was growing insidiously. When you think rationally, everything starts to make sense.
  • Seek help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it the most. Ask someone you love to join you in the visit. Moreover, you may seek professional help. Talk to your doctor about the fears and phobias. Then, ask if there is any coping strategy that can help. Sedatives that calm down the nerves may provide relief if you fear injections.
  • CBT may help. CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you different coping techniques to change your thinking about a potential trigger. As a result, you become stronger to face the problems.
  • Consider trying exposure therapy. This treatment approach may be used if the fears are not very intense. In this therapy, you will be exposed to the triggers in a controlled and supportive environment. With every new exposure session, the fears will step down the hierarchy and finally become insignificant.
  • Think of changing the doctor. This is one of the few last things you can do to overcome the fears and phobias. But this may not always successful considering the fear may originate from factors other than the doctor.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about fears and phobias, visit Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.


Doctor’s Retirement Age

In the 1990s, the average American expected to retire at age 60, according to the Gallup polls. In 2012, the same poll found most Americans expect to retire at age 67. Physicians, however, show different retirement patterns related to issues other than age. A family practice doctor in solo practice in a rural town may find it almost impossible to attract a replacement. As a result, he may continue to practice medicine for many years past the usual age of retirement.

Later Retirement

Physicians tend to retire later than other professionals, according to an August 2006 article in “Minnesota Medicine.” The article notes that in 1995, the average age of retirement for physicians was slightly over 67. Specialists may be more likely to retire earlier because they do not have continuous patient contact in the way that a family doctor or internist does, and because they have higher pre-retirementdoctors-retirement-age (1)-1 incomes to help support earlier retirement.

Changing Jobs

Most physicians in 2008 were younger than 45, according to the 2010 edition of the American Medical Association’s “Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the U.S.”– well below retirement age. However, 20 percent of physicians were 65 or older, and only half of these were listed as inactive, indicating retirement. In some cases, a physician may stop providing patient care but move into administrative tasks as a medical director, insurance consultant or other job in which medical expertise is desirable.

Doctors are Older

Although the overall physician population has grown 188 percent between 1970 and 2008, according to the AMA, the physician population over age 65 has grown by 408 percent in the same period. Economic factors may be keeping many physicians on the job longer, according to data from The Doctors Company, a medical malpractice insurance firm. The company found that the portion of physicians reporting satisfaction with retirement plans has dropped 18 percent since 2006, and the average age at which an internist retired had increased from 62 in 2002 to 70 in 2009.

Expected Work Life

Once a physician finishes residency, his expected work life is about 35 years, according to an October 2004 article in “Health Services Research.” The 11 years or more of education for a physician from college to the end of residency means few begin to practice before the age of 28 or 29. Female physicians tend to retire earlier than males, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. It also found that 50 percent of male physicians have retired by age 65 and 80 percent have retired by age 75.

As we age, our strength and vitality decrease; it is simply the order of things. An older person cannot run as fast or jump as high and does not have the same level of energy he or she had 20 or 25 years earlier. So the same must be true for higher mental functions, memory, the ability to learn, and clinical reasoning. Some believe that the experience that we acquire over the years makes up for everything.  Several studies have demonstrated that a decline in cognitive ability is associated with aging. Unfortunately, the rate of participation in continuing medical education activities decreases with age.

Doctor’s Retirement Age: Should There Be a Limit?

doctors-retirement-age (1)-1Meta: What do you see when you visit a doctor? Age or competency? Read this article to understand if it’s rational to regulate the doctor’s retirement age.

The doctor’s retirement age is a debatable issue even among veteran professionals and policymakers. Aging is inevitable and so is retirement from duty. Once a health professional steps into old age, they are required to leave their office. Of many reasons that necessitate the departure, sliding mental function with possible impact on service quality holds the greatest relevance. However, one cannot ignore the fact that aging does not necessarily cause cognitive decline.

Another thing to consider is that public health is a very sensitive issue. Even a slight misjudgment can lead to a serious consequence. In this way, setting the doctor’s retirement age limit seems rational.

But can we decide a doctor’s competency by the numbers on their birth certificates? Or isn’t it true that older doctors have more experience than a fresher graduate? Many such questions spark a debate and, looking at the current trend, we can only expect to see more in the future. Statistics show between 1975 and 2013, the number of US physicians aged 65 or above has multiplied four times. Similarly, 25% of US doctors are 65 or above. Nonetheless, not all of them are practicing.

With all things considered, the issue is just getting more complicated with every passing day. This article will explore the pros and cons of determining a doctor’s retirement age. Also, you will learn its impacts on public health.

Current Guidelines on Doctor’s Retirement Age

There is no standard guideline that forbids a doctor from practicing solely based on age. Nevertheless, they must meet the licensing criteria set forth by the state. Moreover, many hospitals may screen for age before recruiting. In a nutshell, we can say doctors are free to practice as long as patient-health is not compromised.

The American Medical Association’s Council on Medical Education also supports this. Even so, the AMA urges all older physicians to develop a set of standards on their own and monitor it regularly.

Why Setting Age Limit May Be a Good Idea, or Maybe Not!

The Good

Who does not get old? Everyone does and no one is immune to the effect of time.

By the same token, doctors also age and get health problems just like the general population. For example, impaired hearing, weak vision, and memory problems. Other conditions include anage-related decline in decision-making, decreased concentration, and slowed response. All these could possibly dent their competency.

Moreover, many older doctors who have been practicing for decades do not easily accept that their time is gone. They may work even if they have clear signs of age-related impairment.

For the proponents of age-based competency testing, these reasons are enough to raise their voice.

The Bad

Now there is the other side of the story.

The critics strongly believe cognitive impairment is not exclusive to the older doctors. Even a fresher mind could have any of these problems. To further support their view, they assert that the wealth of experience senior doctors have cannot be ignored.

Many senior doctors see fewer patients as they age. Consequently, they have a lower workload,therefore helping them work more efficiently and effectively. This also ensures that more doctors are available to serve.

The University of Virginia Health System and Stanford Health Care conduct special screenings for doctors above 70 and 75 respectively. To everyone’s surprise, most of them secure good scores. This clearly raises a question if examinations are only the way to assess a doctor’s competency. After all, life is more than just a pass-fail examination.

The Bottom Line

From the doctor’s viewpoint, age should not bar them from practicing as long as they fulfill the requirements and provide an effective care. Nevertheless, they may work for fewer hours and appear in cognitive tests whenever the authorities demand.

The decline in motor skills and mental functions, in general, does not occur overnight. For this reason, preventing a competent but old doctor from seeing patients does not seem too logical. If the decline is very serious, this will naturally show up in the form of a critical issue.

Senior doctors should also update their knowledge periodically to keep up with the rapidly changing health technologies. Also, they should be aware of their time of retirement and not associate retirement with a loss of self-respect.

Increasing age might be a problem for surgeons but it is less likely to leave any considerable impact on the performance of general duty medical officers

What You Can Do as A Patient

You have to understand that this is more of a tussle between skill and experience rather than young and old doctors. If something can compensate for skills and experience, you would not mind getting checked by a 90-year old or a 25-year old doctor.

At the end, it all comes down to your personal preferences. In any case, make sure to seek professional help only from a competent doctor. Before scheduling an appointment, here are some tips to follow.

  • Prepare a list of potential candidates based on which services you are looking for.
  • Streamline your search by eliminating the ones who do not fit your criteria.
  • Check the doctor’s profile using innovative online tools like You may also go through reviews by other patients.
  • Request to schedule the appointment and, before that, be clear about what to ask during the visit.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about the potential advantages and disadvantages of setting the doctor’s retirement age, visit Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.


Physician Review Kiosk


Aimed at serving the physicians’ needs regardless of specialty, the new Review Kiosk launched by and Anthony Casimano, is designed as an easy, in-office review system that acquires patient reviews in real-time immediately after an appointment.

The kiosk is accessed by patients from a tablet placed on the checkout counter to get reviews in seconds! 

With 72% of consumers trusting online reviews just as much as personal recommendations and 90% of people reading reviews when they want to buy a product or book a doctor’s appointment, it is very important that physicians are prepared to have enough positive reviews when patients are looking for them.