Video: Conventional Medicine Shortcomings

Dr. Weil summarizes the major shortcomings of the American health care system and conventional medicine.


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Video Transcript: What’s Wrong with Conventional Medicine

By focusing only on the physical body and only giving physical treatments, it’s cut itself off from a lot of interventions that are more cost-effective than those that we now use. Its unwavering commitment to the use of pharmaceutical drugs I see as a real problem. I think adverse drug reactions are far and away the leading category of doctor-caused disease; the costs of pharmaceutical drugs are a major reason why healthcare costs are out of control. There are other ways of treating many common conditions that don’t involve giving pharmaceuticals. There are mind-body interventions, there are dietary adjustments, other lifestyle measures that can all be tried before you prescribe a pharmaceutical drug – but that’s just one example. I think another root problem is that our healthcare system at the moment, it’s really a disease management system that we’re intervening an established disease. We’re not really preventing disease, we’re not teaching people how to be healthy, and we’re not promoting healthy lifestyle and healthy behavior.

The irony is that Americans spend more per capita than anybody else but we’re not really healthier. It’s worse than that, I mean, we spend more per capita by a long shot on healthcare and by any measure of health outcomes we’re at or near the bottom. Clearly, something is wrong with that picture. We’re spending more and have less and less to show for it. So I think the obvious conclusion is, we’re spending our healthcare dollars in wrong ways. Specifically, we’re spending them on, as I said, intervention and established disease rather than towards preventing disease in the first place. Is it the profit motive, the fact that treating diseases is profitable if you have a pharmaceutical-based system? I think that there’s no question at the moment there are many vested interests that are making out from the present system and they will be very resistant to change, but the whole system is going down so at some point that will all have to change.

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