Goals of the Health Care Industry

There has been a dramatic shift in the focus of health care in the past few decades as medicine shifts away from investment in individual health towards mass health and risk prevention. Although we would like to believe that the health care industry has our best interests in mind, we must remember that as the name suggests, it’s an industry, and an industries primary goal is to make money. Risk prevention seems to be key today. This is even evident from watching TV commercials as a short commercial break can contain multiple ads for diseases, illnesses, cholesterol and their respective medications.

In the past decade the risk thresholds for cholesterol have been lowered three times by health officials, increasing the prescribed patients on cholesterol-lowering medicine. By expanding the number of patients on drugs the market grows. Clinical trials never look at when a patient should stop taking a drug, which creates infinite drug use and overmedication. Excessive drug use is harmful to humans but helpful to the profit of the health industry.

I recently experienced this phenomenon in my own life when I went to visit a medical center. I was feeling ill and although the quick strep test (which is 95% effective) came back negative, the doctor started me on the strep medications anyways. In today’s medical world doctors tend to overmedicate a problem that may not exist. As expected, within a few days it was confirmed that I did not have strep, but I was on the medications for 3-4 days anyways. As we look into taking medications, we need to be aware of the motives behind the push to take them.

Reference:

Peterson, Kristin. “Joseph Dumit’s Drugs for Life.” Somatosphere. N.p., 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 1 Oct. 2014.

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