The article is, “The Epidemic of Sickness and Death from Prescription Drugs.” The author is Donald Light, who teaches at Rowan University, and is the 2013 recipient of ASA’s [American Sociological Association’s] Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology. Light is a founding fellow of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2013, he was a fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. He is a Lokey Visiting Professor at Stanford University.
Donald Light: “Epidemiologically, appropriately prescribed, prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death, tied with stroke at about 2,460 deaths each week in the United States. About 330,000 patients die each year from prescription drugs in the United States and Europe. They [the drugs] cause an epidemic of about 20 times more hospitalizations [6.6 million annually], as well as falls, road accidents, and [annually] about 80 million medically minor problems such as pains, discomforts, and dysfunctions that hobble productivity or the ability to care for others. Deaths and adverse effects from overmedication, errors, and self-medication would increase these figures.” (ASA publication, “Footnotes,” November 2014)
The statistics I’m quoting reveal a problem on the level of a tsunami sweeping across the whole of America and Europe—while somehow, people carry on with their lives as if nothing is happening. Unless it’s happening to them or those they love.
In past article, I’ve explained how and why this crime is ongoing, from several perspectives (profit motive, indifference to human life, the need to control populations and render them weak, etc.). Here, I want to focus on an underlying principle:
THE CONDITION OF GOOD HEALTH IS SCARCE; THE CONDITION OF SICKNESS IS ABUNDANT.