The Failures of 20th-Century Medicine

  • Alexandra Wyke


Each year, more money is showered on our healthcare than during the course of the preceding twelve months. In 1960, The United States lavished the considerable sum of $200 billion on healthcare; by the latter years of the 1990s, the figure had swollen to nearer $1 trillion, a fivefold uprush. In the drive to make people well, entire trillions of dollars are now parted with worldwide. Yet members of the public today are manifestly no less sick than they were three decades ago. As soon as science successfully lays bare the secrets of one disease, death figures catapult upward under the influence of other causes. Coronary heart disease has replaced infection as a major killer in developed countries. AIDS, a virus unheard of a little over a decade and a half ago, now destroys more than 1 in 100 Americans. Almost one-third of the population in certain African countries are HIV positive. Across the four corners of the global map, crippling diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and mental disorders thrust themselves into the public view, ever more prevalent. The world may be graying, but the elderly often lack the quality of life to let them pass a dignified old age.


Veteran Administration Antiulcer Drug International Herald Tribune Modem Technology Death Figure 
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© Alexandra Wyke 1997

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  • Alexandra Wyke

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