When a disease or health problem hits the headlines, claiming a massive casualty count or economic cost, my first thoughts are often cynical.

Who is driving this and why?

When I investigate further, my cynicism is often reinforced. Often it’s a group lobbying for a particular treatment to be funded. Often the campaign is supported, whether directly or indirectly, by companies with an interest in promoting awareness and treatment of a particular disease.

Of course, there are also often well-meaning people involved who are sincerely motivated to improve the lot of their particular constituency.

But, as I argue in today’s Crikey bulletin, these disease wars – my casualty count is bigger than yours – are unhealthy because they encourage the sort of narrow thinking that is not necessarily conducive to good policy or practice. Don’t you think?

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