As researchers continue to develop treatments for a variety of diseases and ailments, more people diagnosed with medical problems can find relief from pharmaceutical drugs. The increase in the amount of prescriptions available - and the number of people who need them - has made it more important for pharmaceutical transporters to optimize runs with route planning software to ensure all deliveries to pharmacies and medical facilities are made on schedule.
American prescription use high, continuing to grow
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans are more reliant than ever upon pharmaceuticals. Research from the CDC shows 47.9 percent of people used at least one prescription in the past month, while 21.4 percent relied on three or more medications. More than 10 percent used five or more drugs prescribed by a physician in the last four weeks.
The CDC revealed more than 75 percent of physician office visits involve drug therapy, and the most frequently prescribed drugs were given to treat depression, high cholesterol and pain. Hospital outpatient and emergency room visits add to the massive number of prescriptions filled in the United States each year - 74.4 percent and 79.3 percent of these visits required drug therapy, respectively.
Prescription use is high, and it continues to rise as Americans develop more chronic diseases or seek pharmaceuticals rather that natural cures. The National Center for Health Statistics found the number of individuals who took at least one prescription in the past month jumped 10 percent over the last decade. From 2007 to 2008, one in five children and nine in 10 adults were reported to have used at least one prescription pharmaceutical in the past month. This amounts to a significant number of prescriptions that need to be delivered to pharmacies and health care centers across the country via the most direct route.
Livestock increasingly rely upon drugs
It's not just humans who consume a large amount of pharmaceuticals - livestock producers also rely upon certain drugs for the animals they raise. For years, many large farms have relied upon antibiotics to prevent disease, and although the government and activist groups have considered placing tighter restrictions on livestock antibiotic use, no measures have yet been implemented. This allows most producers to continue to use the pharmaceuticals as they see fit, keeping demand for additional shipments high.
Antibiotics aren't the only drug livestock producers rely upon - drugs designed to speed growth are also popular among these farmers. These pharmaceuticals are often mixed into animal feed and spur growth in cattle. This allows producers to raise bigger animals and sell larger cuts of meat, even during seasonal droughts where feed production may be limited.
As a result of the growing pharmaceutical use - both in humans and animals - medical shipments may need to be made more frequently and in a timely fashion. By implementing the use of route optimization software, shippers can ensure pickups and deliveries are made on schedule, while conserving fuel, spending fewer hours on the road and avoiding time-consuming manual route planning.