Thomas A. Ban: Pharmageddon

            Armageddon is the name of the city in the Bible (Rev.XVI) where at the end of world the kings of the earth under demonic leadership battle the forces of God (Encyclopedia Britannica 1969).  In everyday language the name Armageddon has been in use in reference to a vast decisive battle or confrontation (Merriam-Webster 1985).

            The term, pharmageddon in which “arma” is substituted by “pharma” was coined in 2007 by Charles Medowar, a healthcare advocate in Great Britain who used it in a sentence that reads: “I fear that we are heading blindly in the direction of “Pharmageddon”. He defined “pharmageddon “, as a “gold standard paradox” on which he meant that ”individually we benefit from some wonderful medicines, while, collectively, we are losing sight and sense of health” (Healy 2012). 

            The term was adopted by David Healy in the title of his monograph, Pharmageddon, published in 2012 in which he used it in reference “to a process that was deployed in the first instance in the belief that it would better enable to care for each other, though now it is a process that seems to set to eliminate our ability to care – a fate that beckons in spite of what everyone wants.”


Encyclopedia Britannica. Armageddon. Chicago/ London/ Toronto/ Geneva/ Sydney/ Tokyo/ Manila: William Benton; 1969, p. 417.

Healy D. Pharmageddon. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press; 2012, p.4.

Merriam-Webster A. Armageddon. Merriam-Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster Inc; 1985, p. 103.


April 20, 2017