Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 17 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2684
  1. Michael Fitzpatrick, general practitioner, Hackney, London
  1. fitz{at}

James Le Fanu is a general practitioner and medical journalist well known during the 1990s for his exposures of the follies and pretensions of the drive to regulate lifestyle in the cause of promoting public health. In 1999 he raised the polemical stakes in this magisterial survey of modern medicine. Le Fanu boldly insists that “much current medical advice is quackery,” and recommends “the simple expedient of closing down most university departments of epidemiology,” which “could both extinguish this endlessly fertile source of anxiety-mongering while simultaneously releasing funds for …

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