the cure is worse than the ailment

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the cure is worse than the ailment

1. Literally, the drug, surgery, procedure, etc., used to cure or mitigate a disease or ailment ultimately leads to worse symptoms than the original condition caused or might have caused. While the drug has proven to be effective in combating the ailment, it has also been shown to ravage the body in other, more devastating ways. It seems at this point that the cure is worse than the ailment.
2. By extension, the solution to a problem or crisis leads to worse conditions overall than the original problem did or would have. Often used in negative constructions for rhetorical effect. The board of directors' plan to deal with the economic downturn is to reduce the entire company to a skeleton crew. I know drastic action needs to be taken, but we want to make sure the cure isn't worse than the ailment! I know you want to repeal federal regulations to stimulate the financial sector, but that will inevitably lead to gross misconduct throughout the industry. Sometimes the cure is worse than the ailment.
See also: ailment, cure, worse
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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