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Developing countries face 'leading medical scourge of developed countries'
Date:2/20/2014

onal health policy approach to chronic illness pursued in wealthy countries and particularly in the United States, which assumes that it is simply a matter of finding better ways of organizing and managing health care. Totally neglected is the model of medicine underlying that care. "That model values unlimited medical research and technological innovation: there is no such thing as enough health or medical progress. More, always more," says Callahan. "But it is just that model that driving up health costs here and all the less helpful to poor countries. It is the goals of medicine itself that most needs reform."

He proposes a new set of goals for medicine, applicable to both rich and poor countries, which he calls "sustainable medicine." It is a) affordable for a country in the long run; b) no longer open-ended in its life-extending aspirations, aiming instead for a limited but acceptable population-based average length of life; c) able to keep annual health care costs at the level of the country's annual gross domestic product growth, and d) can be equitably distributed.

"Nothing less than a revolution, one that overthrows the tyranny of an economically and socially unsustainable model of medicine based on a vision of endless progress and technological innovation, is increasingly needed," Callahan concludes. "It will seek to institute a more modest vision, one that accepts the inherent finitude of human life. It will not allow health care to trump all other human goods."


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Contact: Susan Gilbert
gilberts@thehastingscenter.org
845-424-4040 x244
The Hastings Center
Source:Eurekalert

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