There are diagnoses for some people who can’t or won’t take pills. There’s dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. There’s emetophobia, the fear of gagging or vomiting. There’s pharmacophobia, the fear of taking any medicine at all.
And then there are people who have none of these conditions, but really, really hate to do it anyway. Hate it so much, in fact, that when a recent survey asked people if they’d prefer to risk immediate death or swallow a daily pill for the rest of their lives, more than a third chose the former.
In a study published earlier this week in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association, researchers from the University of North Carolina and the University of California, San Francisco, surveyed 1,000 people on what they would be willing to give up to avoid taking a daily pill—one without any cost or side effects—to protect heart health.
Here’s what people were willing to trade:
- More than 20 percent said they would pay $1,000 or more; around 3 percent said they’d pay up to $25,000.
- Around 38 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to gamble some risk of immediate death; around 29 percent of the people surveyed said they’d accept a small (lower than 1 percent) risk, while 9 percent of them said they’d accept a one-in-10 chance of immediate death.
- When the question changed from risk of death to certain death, around 30 percent said they would trade at least a week off their lives, and 8 percent were willing to give up a full two years.