The Dangers of Too Much Medical Care
[Maddeningly, the date problem isn't solved after all. I used the Post Options button to correct today's blog date to Tuesday Feb 6, but it's still coming out as Monday and Monday's date-line has vanished. Oh well, no use getting steamed up about it, I guess. Will try to make corrections later.]
The other day I discovered an interesting and rather alarming page at Amazon US headed The Dangers of Too Much Medical Care.
It's a list of 26 books with titles such as
Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmeceutical Companies Are Turning Us All Into Patients
Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, and Insurers Are Making You Feel Sick
Hope or Hype : The Obsession with Medical Advances and the High Cost of False Promises
The list has been compiled by an American science fiction writer Sylvia Engdahl whose father was Swedish. [See photo] Her website is well worth a visit.
I arrived at Ms Engdahl's list via the site of an American doctor, Dr Jay S Cohen, where I was appalled to learn that "Medication reactions are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, linked with more than 100,000 deaths, 1,000,000 hospitalizations, and 2,000,000 severe or permanently disabling reactions annually (JAMA 1998). And that's just the statistics from hospitals; adding adverse reactions in outpatients would make the numbers even higher."
On Dr Cohen's site I also read, "MENSA BULLETIN: "If you're one of the 46 percent of Americans on a drug regimen, this book could save your life, so do yourself a favor and get a copy." "
Way back in 1959, for a few weeks – I can't remember how long it lasted - my days, like those of many pregnant women, started with bouts of morning sickness. As by then I had given up newspaper work and was writing romances at home, throwing up breakfast was only a minor problem.
Fortunately I didn't ask for, or my doctor didn't offer, the pills that some women took. Because, as you can read at Wikepedia, from "1957 to 1961 in almost fifty countries under at least forty names, including Distaval, Talimol, Nibrol, Sedimide, Quietoplex, Contergan, Neurosedyn, and Softenon. Thalidomide was chiefly sold and prescribed during the late 1950s and 1960s to pregnant women, as an anti-emetic to combat morning sickness and as an aid to help them sleep. Unfortunately, inadequate tests were performed to assess the drug's safety, with catastrophic results for the children of women who had taken thalidomide during their pregnancies."
Since then I've had more than one friend who has become addicted to tranquillisers, but luckily I've never needed to take more than the occasional paracetamol for a headache. Nevertheless, I shall order Dr Cohen's book The Dangers of Too Much Medical Care.
If 46% of Americans are on prescription drugs, how many Brits are, I wonder?
So far I haven't found any statistics, and Amazon UK doesn't have a page of books by British authors about the prescription drug problem in the UK. The only title listed is by another American doctor.
Why are no British doctors writing tirades about this problem?