Too much medicine campaign

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The BMJ's Too Much Medicine campaign aims to highlight the threat to human health posed by overdiagnosis and the waste of resources on unnecessary care.

There is growing evidence that many people are overdiagnosed and overtreated for a wide range of conditions, such as prostate and thyroid cancers, asthma, and chronic kidney disease.

Through the campaign, the journal plans to work with others to increase awareness of the benefits and harms of treatments and technologies and develop ways to wind back medical excess, safely and fairly. This editorial by BMJ editor in chief Fiona Godlee and overdiagnosis researcher Ray Moynihan, senior research fellow at Bond University, Australia, explains more about the campaign:

Dr Godlee said: "Like the evidence based medicine and quality and safety movements of previous decades, combatting excess is a contemporary manifestation of a much older desire to avoid doing harm when we try to help or heal.

"Making such efforts even more necessary are the growing concerns about escalating healthcare spending and the threats to health from climate change. Winding back unnecessary tests and treatments, unhelpful labels and diagnoses won’t only benefit those who directly avoid harm, it can also help us create a more sustainable future."

Next steps

Following the success of the 2013 conference, The BMJ is pleased to announce its partnership with the second Preventing Overdiagnosis conference to be held on 15-17 September 2014 in Oxford, UK.

The conference seeks to bring together the research and the researchers, advance the science of the problem and its solutions, and develop ways to better communicate about this modern epidemic to clinicians, policy makers, the public and patients.

Registration is now open at

In addition as part of the campaign The BMJ will produce a theme issue on Too Much Medicine in September 2014.

Share your views on Too Much Medicine by responding to this editorial:

Too Much Medicine, from evidence to action

Some recent articles from The BMJ:

Interactive timeline

Click on our interactive timeline to see how the BMJ has covered overtreatment in recent years.

Find out more here

Too much medicine

Has modern medicine undermined the capacity of individuals and societies to cope with death, pain, and sickness? Has too much medicine become a threat to health? Yes, argued Ray Moynihan in a BMJ theme issue in April 2002. He accused the pharma industry of extending the boundaries of treatable disease to expand markets for new products. Barbara Mintzes blamed direct to consumer advertising of drugs in the US for portraying a dual message of "a pill for every ill," and "an ill for every pill." Elsewhere in the issue, doctors were accused of colluding in and encouraging medicalisation. Leonard Leibovici and Michel Lièvre wrote : "The bad things of life: old age, death, pain, and handicap are thrust on doctors to keep families and society from facing them."

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