The good and the bad news: Self-care is on the rise

People are using the Internet more and more as a source of information about various illnesses. Many have experienced a Western medical professional’s blind spot about some disease or condition and are becoming less likely to trust only to the doctor’s opinion. So now, too, more pharmaceutical companies are switching drugs from prescription status to over-the-counter availability.

Making more drugs available OTC might save governments money, but safety is always a concern. Do people really know enough to decide whether to take statins to prevent heart disease? No trials with humans have been done–though the evidence is compelling in early animal studies. US researchers aren’t sure that enough care is being given to such decisions, says this article in the British Medical Journal.

It seems that as more magical procedures and treatments are invented, we are pushing to get them out there and move on to the next big thing. As with bioengineered foods, in our rush to cash in on discoveries, we may not be taking enough time to consider the long-range potentialities of the things we unleash. After all, caution and moderation are such boring approaches to recommend.