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Demand for Antidepressants Tests Chilean Health Care System

Five months after the 8.8-magnitude earthquake, the Chilean Ministry of Health reports that the demand for antidepressants like Diazepam, Alprazolam and Clonazepam has increased by 33 percent compared to pre-earthquake levels. At the same time, according to the Unidad de Trauma, Estrés y Desastres de la Universidad Católica, 7.5 percent of the Chilean population is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the disaster.

Clearly, the earthquake is testing a system that Philip Musgrove describes in the newly released AQ as being increasingly “more complete and more equitable through reforms that are also politically acceptable.”

Besides, placing tremendous pressure on the system, the earthquake and resulting spike in antidepressant consumption also leads to problems of self-prescription and counterfeit medicine. According to Marv Shepherd, “Latin America currently rank second behind Asia as having the highest number of counterfeit drugs ‘incidents.’” If this trend continues, Chilean authorities will face the added challenge of cracking down on a growing black medicine market.

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Americas Quarterly, Chile, Health care, Antidepressants, Marv Shepherd, Philip Musgrove

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