Health care costs in the United States are, well, pretty insane. A decentinsurance plan helps mitigate out-of-pocket costs for certain medications, butthose with no health coverage can find themselves with enormous bills and nohope of paying them down. It’s a bizarre situation and as elected officialscontinue to debate just how broken it all is, regular citizens are doing theirbest to save money where they can.

For some, that apparently means using meds intended for animals in place ofprescription drugs meant for humans. As the Guardian reports, a new researcheffort reveals that online stores that offer cheap antibiotics meant for petfish are a favorite of some who take the medication themselves instead.

The study took a relatively straightforward approach to explore the likelihoodof people using fish antibiotics on themselves. The team used readilyavailable public information in the form of product reviews on websites. Manyonline stores that offer fish antibiotics offer customers the ability to writereviews and some of those reviews reveal the true nature of an individual’spurchase.

The number of reviews of such drugs in online stores that mentioned thecustomer using them in their own body rather than for their animals was “smallbut significant.”

The researchers suggest that the trend of using drugs meant for animals inplace of prescription medications for humans is largely based around cost.

“Self-medication and the availability of antibiotics without healthcareoversight might contribute to increasing antimicrobial resistance and delayedappropriate treatment,” Brandon Bookstaver, co-author of the research,explains.

“We were particularly concerned that the high volume of positive feedback onthe comments about human use might encourage others to attempt to use thesedrugs.”

Making matters worse, it seems at least some of the online retailers sellingsuch antibiotics are comfortable with the idea of their customers using themfor their own needs, rather than for animals.

The report notes that at least one retailer replied to a question and assureda would-be buyer that the drugs were safe for human consumption.

It’s a difficult problem to solve, but until basic health care becomes a bitmore affordable, it’s an issue that will likely continue to fester.

Source; New York Post

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