We like to imagine that medicine is based on evidence and the results of fair testing and clinical trials. In reality, those tests and trials are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors who write prescriptions for everything from antidepressants to cancer drugs to heart medication are familiar with the research literature about a drug, when in reality much of the research is hidden from them by drug companies. We like to imagine that doctors are impartially educated, when in reality much of their education is funded by the pharmaceutical industry. We like to imagine that regulators have some code of ethics and let only effective drugs onto the market, when in reality they approve useless drugs, with data on side effects casually withheld from doctors and patients.
All these problems have been shielded from public scrutiny because they're too complex to capture in a sound bite. But Ben Goldacre shows that the true scale of this murderous disaster fully reveals itself only when the details are untangled. He believes we should all be able to understand precisely how data manipulation works and how research misconduct in the medical industry affects us on a global scale.
With Goldacre's characteristic flair and a forensic attention to detail, Bad Pharma reveals a shockingly broken system and calls for regulation. This is the pharmaceutical industry as it has never been seen before.
In this searing expose of the pharmaceutical industry, physician and journalist Goldacre (Bad Science) uncovers a cesspool of corrupt practices designed to sell useless ordangerous drugs to an unsuspecting public. His main focus is the distortion of the science on which evidence-based medicine relies: drug companies, he argues, deploy deliberately biased clinical trials and twisted statistics to exaggerate their drugs benefits, while suppressing countless studies that show negative results or deadly side effects. Big Pharma s malign influence doesn t stop there, he contends; doctors prescribing practices are determined not by patients needs but by the insidious bribes and blandishments of sales representatives, the industry s ubiquitous "educational" programs, and fake research articles, journals, and even textbooks signed by independent academics but authored by industry-hired ghost writers. Goldacre s indictment fingers many culprits profit-hungry industry executives, lax regulatory agencies that collude in hiding crucial information from the public, and complaisant journal editors and university officials who put their imprimatur on blatant misconduct. Drawing on a wealth of research but writing squarely for laypeople, Goldacre conveys complicated scientific, medical, and ethical issues in simple, clear, plainspoken language that pulls no punches. The result is a smart, infuriating diagnosis of the rotten heart of the medical-industrial complex.
Excellent. The book is a well researched and clearly explained critique of how drugs are developed, tested and marketed, and how the commercial interests of pharmaceutical companies are not always aligned with the well-being of patients. An absorbing read.
Bad Pharma unfortunately is more closely aligned with " bad book" than a true objective appraisal of the drug industry. Relying on anecdotal sound bites and leftist popularism - it weaves a sophomoric web of alarmism and misstatement that is both boring and sloppy reportage.