To the Editor.
—Dr Willcox and colleagues1 call attention to the need for better education in geriatric pharmacology and improved prescribing practices in the elderly. However, in press interviews related to the JAMA article, the authors used it as a platform to criticize the pharmaceutical industry that discovers and develops new medicines, rather than focus on the key factors mentioned above. Twenty-two of the 23 drugs discussed in the article were off patent in 1987 and thus available as generics. Since companies do not usually expend resources in marketing off-patent drugs, it is a highly questionable premise that industry marketing practices are the key factor in problems related to prescribing for the elderly.On the other hand, pharmaceutical advances, particularly in the treatment of cardiovascular and infectious diseases, have had a significant favorable impact on this extension of life expectancy. An infant born in the United States in 1900
Beary JF. Inappropriate Drug Prescribing. JAMA. 1995;273(6):455-456. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520300025017