Real health-care breakthroughs

We hear about health-care breakthroughs all the time. Just recently several studies suggested an aspirin a day could prevent cancer (see Yet reports caution that the studies are inconclusive and that previous studies have had different results. And taking too few or too many aspirin could nullify the positive effects or cause other health problems.

This kind of reporting is not uncommon when it comes to health-care studies. The media tends to hype the good news because people want to know that their health care is improving. And, of course, medical breakthroughs mean profits for pharmaceutical companies and other providers. The idea of selling a disease by introducing the cure for it is widely known in the health-care industry. There’s even a term for it: disease branding. It has been described as presenting the cure to an obscure or previously untreatable disease, which makes the disease more palatable to potential patients.

This is the big business of health care, and it’s not always about providing better health.

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May 14, 2012

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