The number of prescribed medicines dispensed in England and Wales increased by 21% between 1969 and 1977. Surveys carried out at the Institute for Social Studies in Medical Care have been used to compare the reported consumption of prescribed medicines in those two years. Although there were some changes in the distribution of prescribed medicines between age, sex, and social class groups, there did not appear to be an increase in the use of these medicines commensurate with the increase in the number dispensed. It is suggested that a growing proportion of people may be deciding not to take their medicines as instructed.
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