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Medicalisation costs $77 billion in US, study says

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c2779 (Published 27 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2779
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington DC

    The direct cost of medicalisation—the categorising of events or behaviours as requiring medical treatment—was $77.1bn (£53.6bn, €62.3bn) in the United States in 2005, or 3.9% of total domestic healthcare expenditure, according to what is believed to be the first ever study quantifying those costs (Soc Sci Med 2010;70:1943-7).

    Investigators tried to be “fairly rigorous” in what to include under medicalisation in the analysis, lead author Peter Conrad, a researcher at Brandeis University, near Boston, told the BMJ. They chose conditions for which there was broad agreement and where data were available.

    They ended up with a dozen: anxiety disorders, …

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