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Logo of jmedethJournal of Medical EthicsVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
J Med Ethics. 1975 July; 1(2): 73–77.
PMCID: PMC1154458

The medicalization of life


Two contributions from Dr Ivan Illich follow. The first, in which he sets out his primary thesis of the medicalization of life, is a section from Dr Illich's book `Medical Nemesis'. (It is reprinted with the permission of the author and his publishers, Messrs Calder and Boyars.) The second is a transcript of the paper which Dr Illich read at the conference organized by the London Medical Group on iatrogenic disease. Both are ultimately addressed to the recipients of medical care, the general public, although the second paper is specifically addressed to young doctors and medical students. For Dr Illich the world is suffering from too much medical interference, and a medical edifice has been built which is one of the threats to the real life of human beings - a threat which so far has been disguised as care.

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