In the 1970’s Ivan Illich wrote a number of books including The Disabling Professions: and Diseasemongers: How doctors, drug companies and insurers are trying to make you feel sick. He wrote about the process of turning ordinary life and its ups and downs into medical conditions, the so-called medicalisation of society. He observed how the definitions of diseases are being widened in order to boost demand for doctors’ services and new products. He foresaw the alliances that have formed between groups of specialists, drug companies and even some patient groups, who all have a vested interest in making their particular condition look as widespread and serious as possible.
The media plays its part in disease mongering by using the biggest, most dramatic estimates of how many people suffer a disease and by featuring the most severe cases of disability.Continue Reading →