Hey guys this summer I did recitation for a drugs and behavior class. Part of my responsibility was to bring up some discussion points regarding drugs legal and non. Anyway I found this blog on the topic and shared it with the class; I don’t think they were ready to read for the most part, and certainly not ready to think outside the box so to speak. I know the same doesn’t apply to our faithful readership. An excerpt:

By Trent McBride:

Any claim that paternalism is an artifact of medicine’s past is simply wrong. Even though the culture has improved recently, it still lives with us today and it has no appearances of going away anytime soon. In other industries, service models revolve around a customer who hires someone to serve her needs. In medicine, doctors, with an assist from the federal government, have a dominant position with regard to the patient and have a unique amount of control over their paying customers. Many people may disagree with this characterization, but I fail to see anything different in spite of recent efforts to change this relationship. Patient autonomy does not exist in any way like it should.

In no area is this more apparent than in the prescription-only status of most medicines. It always amazes me that this fact is never called into question, especially among my medical school colleagues. There is no shortage of debate in and about medicine on just about any other topic, but we accept this culture of the gatekeeper almost without question. You would think just once you would here somebody say, “Doesn’t anybody find it odd that it is illegal for this patient to by this drug unless I write it down on a little piece of paper and then sign it.” Maybe I lack imagination, but I can’t think of another aspect of the human experience where one set of people, not members of the government, wield that amount of power over others.

the entire post is very thought-provoking. Click the link above to read.

Paternalism in Medicine
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One thought on “Paternalism in Medicine

  • I agree with the general premise (although I didn’t read the entirity of the link). I think at least 98% of prescription-based drugs should be OTC, with the possible exception being for strong painkillers with addictive properties. The gatekeeper system does nothing more than overload our health care system and drive up costs for everyone (while managing to be a HUGE inconvenience).

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