Quaternary prevention: a gaze on medicalization in the practice of family doctors
Revista Brasileira de Medicina de Família e Comunidade
The medicalization is a complex and widespread social phenomenon which involves different agents and institutions, such as the pharmaceutical and medical industry, governments, health systems, health professionals, and citizens. In this regard, doctors and health professionals play an important role in reproducing and struggling with medicalization, by recognizing that medicine and health care can generate as much harm as benefits. Family doctors have to deal with overmedicalization and its
... ization and its associated phenomena (i.e. overdiagnosis, overtreatment, disease mongering) on a daily basis as they act as gatekeepers of health systems. As the first point of contact, family physicians and their health teams get the demands and social needs brought by individuals and communities under their care, which usually are influenced by the health marketing and an interventionist medical perspective. This article discusses some key concepts of medicalization and its determinants, especially the contributions of biomedical science and its epistemological basis to the phenomenon. It also briefly develops some thoughts on the medicalization, in the Brazilian context. Finally, it analyses the quaternary prevention approach to medicalization which proposes changes in its object and attitude to medical practice in order to avoid unnecessary interventions, thus, protecting patients from the excesses of medicine.