[EconTalk] Jacob Stegenga on Medical Nihilism

Jacob Stegenga on Medical Nihilism

01/04/2019 by EconTalk: Russ Roberts

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=66792391
Episode: http://files.libertyfund.org/econtalk/y2019/Stegengamedical.mp3

Philosopher and author Jacob Stegenga of the University of Cambridge talks about his book Medical Nihilism with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Stegenga argues that many medical treatments either fail to achieve their intended goals or achieve those goals with many negative side effects. Stegenga argues that the approval process for pharmaceuticals, for example, exaggerates benefits and underestimates costs. He criticizes the FDA approval process for approving too many drugs that are not sufficiently helpful relative to their side effects. Stegenga argues for a more realistic understanding of what medical practice can and cannot achieve.

Start Date: 2019-05-04

Finish Date: 2019-05-06


  • Somehow, Russ Roberts seemed much more shocked at the idea that we don’t really know about the effectiveness of drugs than I was.
  • The suggestion that drug effectiveness be checked post-facto also was very interesting to me.
  • But other than that, I didn’t get all that much out of the episode.


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