Too much medicine? Almost certainly

Ray Moynihan, Richard Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Any consideration of the limits of medicine has to begin a quarter of a century ago with Ivan Illich, who has so far produced the most radical critique of modern – or industrialised-medicine. His argument is in some ways simple. Death, pain, and sickness are part of being human. All cultures have developed means to help people cope with all three. Indeed, health can even be defined as being successful in coping with these realities. People may increasingly take charge, more consciously weighing the costs and benefits of the ‘medicalisation’ of their lives. Armed with better information about the natural course of common conditions, they may more judiciously assess the real value of medicine’s never ending regimen of tests and treatments. Although some forces-the internet and patients’ empowerment–might offer opportunities for ‘demedicalisation,’ many others encourage greater medicalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Subtitle of host publicationA Reader
EditorsGeraldine Lee-Treweek, Tom Heller, Susan Spurr, Hilary MacQueen, Jeanne Katz
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9780429609367
ISBN (Print)9780415351584
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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