Primary prevention

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Primary prevention is "specific practices for the prevention of disease or mental disorders in susceptible individuals or populations. these include health promotion, including mental health; protective procedures, such as communicable disease control; and monitoring and regulation of environmental pollutants. Primary prevention is to be distinguished from secondary prevention, which is the prevention of complications or after-effects of a drug or surgical procedure, and tertiary prevention, the amelioration of the after-effects of a disease."[1]

Regarding the opportunity cost of primary prevention of diseases, one analysis concluded, "opportunities for efficient investment in health care programs are roughly equal for prevention and treatment."[2]

Insufficient time hinders the ability of the primary care physician to deliver primary prevention.[3]


  1. Anonymous (2021), Primary prevention (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Cohen JT, Neumann PJ, Weinstein MC (February 2008). "Does preventive care save money? Health economics and the presidential candidates". N. Engl. J. Med. 358 (7): 661–3. DOI:10.1056/NEJMp0708558. PMID 18272889. Research Blogging.
  3. Yarnall KS, Pollak KI, Østbye T, Krause KM, Michener JL (2003). "Primary care: is there enough time for prevention?". Am J Public Health 93 (4): 635-41. PMID 12660210. PMC PMC1447803[e]