A term often used to describe the prescription drug, Prozac, is that it is referred to as a “white drug.” This term is meant to reflect upon the prescribing trends of the drug and how it is typically prescribed to Caucasian persons rather than different minority groups. Being that Prozac is a drug meant to help any person who has conditions that require its’ medicinal aid, I feel that it is ridiculous for any person to be given a drug that may not be as effective just because of their race.
Prozac has been around since 1987 and has since been one of the more profitable prescription drugs out. Also, Prozac is considered to be one of the most affective prescription anti-depressants. On top of its’ great effectiveness for treating depression, Prozac is also helpful with a few other conditions, with almost no side effects, and a fairly low chance of overdose.
To clear up why Prozac being a “white drug” is in need of defining I would like to just lay out the exact medical uses of the drug. With this I would like to prove that there is no reason for it to not be prescribed to any person with conditions warranting the prescription. The medical conditions warranting a Prozac prescription are: major depression, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), panic attacks, bulimia, premenstrual disorder with unhappiness, bipolar depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa, and these are not all of them (WebMD). Seeing that there are that many medical reasons to be prescribed this drug, it is very hard for one to understand how the drug is almost rationed to only white people.
There have been many medical studies that follow up on this idea that Prozac is typically not prescribed to minority groups, mostly just white people. There are some arguments for financial or insurance factors that prevent many from getting Prozac, but they do not account for enough of these cases to not consider this situation as odd (this financial/insurance argument will be addressed in my rebuttal essay). At the University of Michigan, there was a study done to address this topic and the results were not that surprising after already reading up on this subject. The study found that Hispanic persons and respectively, African Americans with depression types of disorders, were less likely to be given prescribed antidepressants. The study also stated that a white person with the same symptoms or conditions would be prescribed Prozac with relatively no problem. Michigan’s study also went into insurance problems that found people who are under the insurance of Medicaid or Medicare were also not likely to be prescribed antidepressant medications. Seeing that the study pointed out the race factors of prescribing Prozac and the insurance side of the argument makes it a great study to reference. Being that those who are recipients of Medicaid or Medicare are also unlikely to receive Prozac can sort of also be thought of as a counter because in the studies where any inquiries are made into what percentage of white people receive Prozac compared to minority groups who don’t, because maybe a high percentage of the minority groups are under those two healthcare companies.
The team carrying out this research conducted a very in depth study into Prozac being a “white drug” which spanned from 1993-2007. The researchers pulled information such as who was receiving antidepressant prescriptions, and which antidepressants they were given. Michigan’s researchers found that, “race, payment source, physician ownership status and geographical region influenced whether physicians decided to prescribe antidepressants in the first place.” The most influential findings in the above statements on whether or not Prozac is typically just prescribed to white people are, race, physician ownership status, and payment source. White people were found to be recipients of antidepressants (specifically Prozac) 1.52 more times than minority groups even if they showed the same medical conditions warranting an anit-depressant such as Prozac.
Being that Prozac is an anti depressant, and a highly effective antidepressant, there should be no reason that race should prevent any person from receiving a prescription to it. Looking at every medical condition that warrants a prescription to Prozac, and when a doctor sees those same conditions in a patient, it should be almost automatic for the patient to be prescribed Prozac (as long as their insurance and health conditions are able to cope with this type of drug). Because many have previous conditions that may conflict with the effectiveness of receiving Prozac, it is understandable that these persons may factor into the percentage of minority groups’ people who do not get prescribed Prozac, but hopefully this is a factor that is taken out of most studies.
Antidepressants are drugs that are meant to help a person with conditions such as major depression, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), panic attacks, bulimia, premenstrual disorder with unhappiness, bipolar depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and anorexia nervosa. When looking at all of these factors that could negatively harm ones health, how is it possible to deny a person of a drug that would make their life better, just because of their race?
The way physicians prescribe antidepressants, or the way they sometimes do not prescribe antidepressants, is an issue that will be addressed in the Causal essay and hopefully there will be more available first hand accounts of people who have the conditions warranting Prozac, but still do not receive it. Another factor that must be looked into is the usefulness or effectiveness of generic brand Prozac because of the fact that many minority groups, if they are given a prescription to antidepressants, receive the generic forms instead of the real thing.
For this essay, the sources I used were:
“Prozac Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing – WebMD.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2013. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-6997- Prozac+Oral.aspx?drugid=6997&drugname=Prozac+Oral&pagenumber=4
“Study: Race and Medicaid Is a Factor in Who’s Prescribed Antidepressants.” The Vigilant Mom RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2013. http://www.thevigilantmom.com/2012/04/study-race-and-medicaid-is-a- factor-in-whos-prescribed-antidepressants/