PHIL-312: Philosophy of Medicine

Document Type

Student Paper

Publication Date

Spring 3-16-2020


Bioethics and Medical Ethics | Disease Modeling | Diseases | Ethics and Political Philosophy | Medical Humanities | Medicine and Health Sciences | Philosophy of Science

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

“Disease mongering” is the practice of widening diagnostic boundaries of an illness and promoting their public awareness to expand the markets for treatment and to increase profits. This tactic typically used by pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers, insurance companies, and even some doctors and patient groups, has become a great concern. Disease mongering has since increased in parallel with “medicalization,” which attempts to label normal human conditions as medical problems, thus becoming the subject of medical study, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment. This paper first seeks to examine how an increasing amount of life’s natural conditions and ailments are being seen as medical conditions. I will then argue that this alone does not result in disease mongering, rather third parties’ attempt to make these conditions seem more serious and widespread than they actual are contributes to the problem. Furthermore, the treatments for these problems are oversold despite sometimes being ineffective or causing more problems on top of the ones they claim to treat. De-medicalization based on respect for human dignity, rather than investor value, is long overdue. The unethical practice of disease mongering can only be combated with joint initiatives from patients, providers, and the general public.


3rd Place Winner, 2020

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.