Book details

248 Pages
Publication date: March 2009
Imprint: Ecowin
Kurt Langbein

Confidential Medicine

How It Makes Us Sick, Who Profits from It, and How You Can Survive the System

Where the average citizen spent roughly 150 Euro for medical services in 1960, the medical system is costing them more than 3.500 Euro a year nowadays. This would be acceptable if the 26 billion Euro were invested in better medical treatments.

Covered up and denied: Every year, 3,000 people die from the consequences of medical errors in Austrian hospitals.

Life-threatening: After having completed a nightshift, surgeons make twice as many mistakes than when they are well-rested.

Alarming: One in ten people ends up in hospital simply because drugs were administered incorrectly.

Enterprising: While doctors’ fees and hospital expenses increased by 34 percent between 1997 and 2005, the pharmaceutical industry and doctors vaulted insurance companies’ expenses for medical drugs to a plus of 70 percent.

Unethical: The central insignia of chief physicians in the feudal hierarchies is the »right to liquidation«: the license to collect fees privately.

As a result, this invites corruption and promotes a two-tier medical system. And those with private insurance face the risk of being operated on unnecessarily. Record-breaking: With 3 out of 10 citizens, more people are admitted to hospital in Austria than anywhere else in the world – and half of these hospitalizations are unnecessary.


Kurt Langbein

Kurt Langbein was born in Budapest in 1953 and studied Sociology in Vienna. From 1979 until 1989, he was editor for TV reportages at the ORF, and head of the science desk at the news magazine profil from 1989 until 1992. Since 1992, he has been managing partner at the production company Langbein & Partner Media. Among others, he has authored the bestselling works “Bitter Pills” – one of the most successful non-fiction titles in the German language with 2.7 million sold copies – and “Six Feet Above – On Life with Cancer”, in which he writes about his personal fight with cancer. In 2013, Kurt Langbein was awarded the Axel-Corti-Prize for his dedicated and critical TV reports.