BMJ special reports on overtreatment

BMJ editor Fiona Godlee published an editor’s note, “Overtreatment, over here,” kicking off a discussion in her journal.   She begins:

“How much of what we offer to patients is unnecessary? Worse still, how much harm do we do to individuals and society through overtreatment? In the 30 years since Ivan Illich wrote his seminal and, at the time, shocking book Medical Nemesis, the idea that medicine can do clinical and societal harm as well as good has become commonplace. But are we doing enough to bring medicine’s harmful hubris under control?”

US journalist Jeanne Lenzer writes in that same edition, “Unnecessary care: are doctors in denial and is profit driven healthcare to blame?” A BMJ subscription is required for full access.

But you don’t need a subscription to watch a well-done BMJ video featuring Lenzer, colleague Shannon Brownlee, acting director of the New America Health Policy Program and author of Overtreated: How Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer, David Himmelstein, professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health, Vikas Saini, a Harvard cardiologist and president of the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation, and Patty Skolnik of

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shaun nerbas

October 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

More Americans should see this video and its important message for health care, especially in this election year, with two different health care philosophies on the table for voters to select from. It’s time to ask these two parties some tough questions about the quality, cost, and coverage of the system they believe in.