Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine

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9780060568528: Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine

The untold crisis in American medicine, with side effects that may be hazardous to your health.

We all know that health care and prescription drug costs are skyrocketing, but few doubt the excellence of American medicine. John Abramson, M.D., an award-winning family doctor on the clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School, reveals, in the same clear language that he used with his patients, how the corporate takeover of clinical research and medical practice is compromising Americans' health. You -- and your doctor -- will be stunned by his findings.

For twenty years, Dr. Abramson cared for patients of all ages in a small town north of Boston. But increasingly his role as family doctor was undermined as pressure mounted to use the latest drugs and high-tech solutions for nearly every problem. Drawing on his background in statistics and health policy research, he began to investigate the radical changes that were quietly taking place in American medicine.

At the heart of the crisis, he found, lies the changed purpose of medical knowledge -- from seeking to optimize health to searching for the greatest profits. The lack of transparency that has become normal in commercially sponsored medical research now taints the scientific evidence published in even our most prestigious medical journals. And unlike the recent scandals in other industries that robbed Americans of money and jobs, this one is undermining our health.

The hormone replacement debacle, it turns out, is not an isolated case. The same kind of commercial distortion now pervades the information that doctors rely upon to guide the prevention and treatment of common health problems, from heart disease to stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, and osteoarthritis.

The good news, as Dr. Abramson explains, is that the real scientific evidence shows that many of the things that you can do to protect and preserve your own health are far more effective than what the drug companies' top-selling products can do for you -- which is why the drug companies work so hard to keep this information under wraps.

In what is sure to be one of the most important and eye-opening books you or your doctor will ever read, John Abramson offers conclusive evidence that American medicine has broken its promise to best improve our health and is squandering more than $500 billion each year in the process.

Isn't it time to learn the facts, discuss these issues with your doctor, and reclaim the good health and medical care that all Americans deserve?

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About the Author:

John Abramson, M.D., has worked as a family doctor in Appalachia and in Hamilton, Massachusetts, and has served as chairman of the department of family practice at Lahey Clinic. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow and is currently on the clinical faculty of Harvard Medical School, where he teaches primary care.

From Publishers Weekly:

According to Abramson, Americans are overmedicated and overmedicalized as a result of the commercialization of health care. Falling prey to marketing campaigns, we demand unnecessary and expensive drugs and procedures, believing they constitute the best possible medical care. Wrong, says Abramson: though more post–heart attack procedures are performed in the U.S. than in Canada, one-year survival rates are the same. Similarly, notes Abramson, a former family practitioner who teaches at Harvard Medical School, we spend more on high-tech neonatology than other Western countries but have a higher infant-mortality rate because of inattention to low-tech prenatal care. Abramson deconstructs the scientific sleight of hand in presenting clinical trial results that leads to the routine prescription of pricey cholesterol-lowering drugs even when their effectiveness has not been proven; he examines what he calls "supply-sensitive medical services"—the near-automatic use of medical technologies, such as cardiac catheterization, less because they are needed than because they are available. Abramson's bottom line: "More care doesn't necessarily mean better care." Arguing firmly that doctors should focus more on lifestyle changes to improve health, Abramson seems less credible when he writes off depression as "exercise-deficiency disease" and disposes of cancer in little more than a page. Still, he makes a powerful and coherent case that American medicine has gone badly astray and needs a new paradigm—one untainted by profits.
Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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