Editorial: Is an Ounce of Prevention Worth a Pound of Cure?

The Trump administration has cut major funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Medicaid, and the National Institutes of Health. In President Trump’s State of the Union speech, given on January 30th, 2018, he talked about how reducing the price of prescription drugs in the United States, will be one of his greatest priorities. Bringing the price of prescription drugs down will be a great thing for many Americans who struggle to keep up with the current prices that exceed those of many other countries.

Articles from Health Affairs (“Do Prevention Or Treatment Services Save Money? The Wrong Debate”) and the World Health Organization (“Prevention is better than cure, say Romanian doctors”), mention how cost-effective and beneficial it could be to focus on prevention. These articles talk about the importance of educating the public and shifting our thinking from expensive technology and medication, to interventions and behavior changes. Health coaching and motivational interviewing could be used to incorporate and encourage this behavior change in many settings, and a wide population.

This being said, we must ask ourselves what the main priority in this country should be. Sure, we can lower the price of medications, but would it be more beneficial to spend money on prevention? Although not all conditions can be prevented, with a focus on more preventative strategies, we can reduce the need of medication purchases overall. Where is it most beneficial to act. When people become in need of treatment, or before treatment is even necessary?