Why modern medicine is a major threat to public health
Most patients will derive no health improvement from medication. We should tackle the root causes of disease instead.
When former airline pilot Tony Royle came to see me last year to seek reassurance that it was OK to participate in an Ironman event, having stopped all his medications 18 months after suffering a heart attack, I was initially a little alarmed.
But after talking to him, I realised he had made an informed decision to stop the medication after suffering side effects, and instead had opted for a diet and lifestyle approach to manage his heart disease.
His case is a great example of how evidence-based medicine should be practised. This is the integration of clinical expertise, the best available evidence and – most importantly – taking patients’ preferences and values into consideration.
But our healthcare system has failed to keep to this gold standard of clinical practice for the most important goal of improving patient health outcomes.
The consequences have been devastating. Modern medicine, through over prescription, represents a major threat to public health. Peter Gøtzsche, co–founder of the reputed Cochrane Collaboration, estimates that prescribed medication is the third most common cause of death globally after heart disease and cancer.
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