[EconTalk] Adam Cifu on the Case for Being a Medical Conservative

Adam Cifu on the Case for Being a Medical Conservative

01/07/2019 by EconTalk: Russ Roberts

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=74823278
Episode: http://files.libertyfund.org/econtalk/y2019/Cifumedicalconservative.mp3

Physician and author Adam Cifu of the University of Chicago talks about being a medical conservative with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Cifu encourages doctors to appreciate the complexity of medical care and the reality that many medical techniques advocated by experts are not always beneficial or cost-effective. The conversation explores the challenges of finding reliable evidence to support medical interventions and the inherent uncertainty surrounding outcomes.

Listen Date: 2019-09-10


  • I’m getting a little tired of EconTalk healthcare episodes. They just seem to drag out the same points over and over again.
  • One thing that did stick out, however, was the triangular trade-off Cifu talked about – a new therapy’s benefits, side effects, and costs; and how a small improvement in benefit or small reduction in side effect was often accompanied by a massive increase in monetary cost.
  • This raises the possibility that pharma companies or device manufacturers being ripoff artists is the optimistic case. In the worst case, we have already hit the point of diminishing returns of medical benefits to money spent as a general rule; and the pharma companies are being sincere. Yuck.



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