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Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, June 10, 2014

Drive-Through Pharmacies:
Super Size Your Side Effects!

Opinion by Helen Saul Case

(OMNS June 10, 2014) You've got to love drive-through drugs. Who wants to walk all the way to the window when they are sick? Well, now you don't even have to get out of the car.

A drive-through is intended to be convenient. Our schedules are busy. Our feet are sore. It takes time to park, haul ourselves from our vehicle, un-strap the kids from their car seats and trot everyone inside. Then you have to wait in line. Usually twice. There's rarely a place to sit unless you want to check your blood pressure. The longer you wait, the higher it goes. Place your order. Wait. Check on your order. Wait some more. Pick up your order. Leave, and walk all the way back to your car.

Where there is demand, there is often added convenience. Nobody likes to wait in line, let alone long lines. Isn't it nice to just call in your prescription and cruise on by the pickup window?

Better yet, let's not leave the house. Have your medication shipped directly to your door. A Google search for "mail order prescriptions" will bring up about ten million search results. We still might have to walk to our mailboxes, though.

Long Lines

The real tragedy here is there are long lines at the pharmacy. We see it happening right in front of us:

  • An ever-increasing number of folks are using prescription medicines. Many take two or more. [1]
  • One in three Americans takes drugs for chronic, long term illnesses.[2]
  • Nine out of ten seniors are on drugs.[2]
  • One in five children are on drugs.[2]

These are the industry's steady customers. And numbers continue to rise. About 300 million new prescriptions are filled each year. [3]

We Pay the Price

Convenience is still costly, no matter at which window you choose to pay. On average, the monthly cost we each shell out for prescriptions is about $46.[2] Since half of Americans don't take any prescription medications (well, not yet, anyway), this means everyone else is spending twice this.

At least drugs are safe, right? Not really. "Safe" and "regulated" drugs appear to be so in name only. Over a hundred thousand people die each year from pharmaceutical drugs taken as directed .[4] Those left standing still must be subjected to practically inevitable side effects. Do you know what will happen if you start combining drugs? No? Don't feel bad. I'm convinced the drug companies don't know, either.

An Improved Drive-Through

I'd love to see more good things available via drive-through, Vegas weddings not-withstanding. Perhaps drive-through organic juicing shops or vitamin dispensaries spotted along street corners. Would people go? Would business be as spectacular as it is at a Dunkin' Donuts drive-up with cars encircling the store? Imagine: multitudes showing up to order their large Kale Carrot, light on the ginger with a sprinkle of vitamin C.

Make Healthy a Routine

A friend of mine has made healthy a routine. She described what she calls her "juicing racket" to me. An upstairs neighbor, upon hearing the sound of her whirring juicer early every morning, asked her what she was doing down there. When she told him about juicing, he asked if he could have some, too. It was waking him up anyway. Sure, she said, for a fee. Twice a week she delivers fresh vegetable juice, and he pays up five bucks. A coworker of hers wanted in on it, too. She set her price and now brings two containers of veggie drink to the office.

Healthy Kids

Kids that have access to good food eat it. I know this first hand. Clean out the junk and stock your shelves with healthy foods and your kids will consume them. Our three-year-old daughter doesn't even know what a cookie is. Nor has she ever needed a pharmaceutical drug. She knows exactly what "juice" is though, and it's not the sugary sweet stuff near the soda isle. Hers is made fresh at home, with her enthusiastic assistance, and is chock full of organic vegetables.

Our three-year-old daughter doesn't even know what a cookie is.

Drugs are marketed almost incessantly to us and our children using sports icons, images of masculinity or femininity, happiness and well-being, and for the little ones: cartoons.[5] Junk food is marketed to kids, too. With cartoon characters splattered all over non nutritious snacks, cereals, and desserts, nobody else but a child's parents will get her excited about carrots. And this is the whole point.

Our Responsibility

Better access to vegetables doesn't seem to influence our overwhelming avoidance of them.[6] It's time for a change. The motivation has to come from within, and it must be projected outwards. Juice for yourself. Juice for your family, friends, and co-workers. Work to keep off medications, and work to keep your kids off them, too. We need to make good food easy to obtain, and we need to make a point to eat it.

We have to arrange our lives to make "healthy" our reality. Few of us need to rely on drug-based medical care. Avoid spending the 100 bucks a month on medication; buy veggies and vitamins instead.

Drive-through pharmacies may save you some time, but wouldn't you save much more time if you didn't have to go at all?

(Helen Saul Case is the author of The Vitamin Cure for Women's Health Problems and Vitamins and Pregnancy: The Real Story (in press). She is coauthor of Vegetable Juicing for Everyone.)


1. Gu, Q, C. F. Dillon and V. L. Burt. "Prescription drug use continues to increase: U.S. prescription drug data for 2007-2008." NCHS Data Brief (42), September 2010:1-8. (accessed June 2014).

2. Carroll, J. "Half of Americans Currently Taking Prescription Medication." Gallup News Service, December 9, 2005. (accessed June 2014).

3. Sovey, C. "United States Tops 4 Billion Annual Prescriptions: Is Our Health Improving?" October 5, 2012. (accessed June 2014).

4. Starfield, B. "Is US Health Really the Best in the World?" JAMA 284(4), July 26, 2000:483-485.

5. Case, H.S. "Pharmaceutical Drug Marketing to Our Children." Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, June 11, 2013. Available at

6. United States Department of Agriculture. Economic Research Service. "Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences." Report to Congress, June 2009. (accessed April 2014).

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