Science’ hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science, becoming a 400,000 copy bestseller. Now Ben Goldacre puts the $600bn global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. What he reveals is a fascinating, terrifying mess.
Doctors and patients need good scientific evidence to make informed decisions. But instead, companies run bad trials on their own drugs, which distort and exaggerate the benefits by design. When these trials produce unflattering results, the data is simply buried. All of this is perfectly legal. In fact, even government regulators withhold vitally important data from the people who need it most. Doctors and patient groups have stood by too, and failed to protect us. Instead, they take money and favours, in a world so fractured that medics and nurses are now educated by the drugs industry.
The pharmaceutical industry spends more on marketing than it does on research and development. New diseases are invented in order to swell profits. It distorts and suppresses the results of clinical trials if they are unfavourable. Patients' pressure groups are covertly sponsored by pill manufacturers. Its offences are countless and the consequences are felt by us all. What we trust to cure us may be ineffectual or actually harmful. Patients are harmed in huge numbers.
Ben Goldacre is Britain’s finest writer on the science behind medicine, and ‘Bad Pharma’ is a clear and witty attack, showing exactly how the science has been distorted, how our systems have been broken, and how easy it would be to fix them.
©2012 Ben Goldacre (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
Bad Pharma tells the story of how we know way too little about the drugs we use every day. The author describes complex research in an easily understandable way, and is straight forward about his opinions.
The narrator is excellent, reading the book as if he had written it himself. In portions of the book where the author writes about especially infuriating topics, the narrators voice becomes angry, reflecting the anger of the listener as one realises that the pharmaceutical industry will go to great lengths to sell their drugs.
So this broke my heart, but it is informative and reasoned and complete and gently worded and...you can't easily fault it, except that it will tell you things that you don't want to know.
We don't know anything we think we know about drugs...and that is terrifying.
This is a harder ride than Bad Science, but it was worth it.
"Every medical doctor should read this!"
I am an infectious disease physician. 'Bad Pharma' is a book about the failure of implementing evidence based clinical medicine, the factors contributing to it and the fake fixes. This is an eye opener, useful for all MDs whether involved in clinical trials, receiving pharma reps or going on conference trips with pharma and other “jollies”. (we all say that we are not influenced…) Also interesting is the conflict of interest that Journals have in publishing clinical trials.
"An important book for everyone"
A brilliant, witty, shocking and important look at the failures involved in our medicines, not just of the companies themselves but also of regulators, academics who literally hire out their names and reputations and others.
It isn't at all difficult to follow, you need no specialist knowledge, it isn't dry or dull and it talks about things that affect us all.
It is a book that matters and one that will help you make informed decisions about your own health.
Hopefully it will galvanize enough change that in the future we will know if the medicines we take and buy as a society actually do what they claim to.
If I could only recommend one book I have read, it would honestly be this one.
"The terrifying world of scientific publications"
This brilliantly written yet terrifying book on the world of scientific drugs trials - needs to be read by all. How we are deceived by pharmaceutical companies and how doctors go about prescribing dugs on this biased information is scary and needs to be addressed immediately by all involved. A must read for everyone especially those in the world of scientific research.
"Great listen, heavy on the science"
Essential to anybody remotely related to the medical field. A thought provoking piece for everyone else. A riveting listen - the reader really takes in the author's persona and many many topics that makes one stop and question what so many take for granted in and about the medical field.
At the end, the reader interviews the author! Fantastic exchange, also funny moments as the listener till that point associates the voice of the reader to that of the author.
Realisation how large the problem is that is set out by the author
This is a little heavy on the science and medical terms. Even as a doctor, I had to concentrate on a few parts to make sure I didn't lose track. Someone less familiar with the medical world might want to have the book at hand for reference (the print has a glossary, references etc).
"Bad Pharma. Bad Writing."
I have to declare from the start that I am a slave to style in writing. If I don't like the writer's style, I struggle with the rest.
Ben Goldacre stuck me as self-important and pompous. He seemed to present his (quite interesting) facts in a way that was bogged down by a need to show how well he had done in finding the fact out, or avoiding the pitfalls during his own medical practice. The occasional example of him 'falling for the trap' of the Pharma company distortion was presented in an "even I didn't see that one coming" way, that made me want to shout at the stereo!
I came to this book after having been captivated by Flat Earth News, and The God Delusion. Unfortunately, this book ain't nearly up to the standard of those.
"Important subject material, well written"
More pure gold from Ben Goldacre... his last book 'Bad Science' was a great book, and this one doesn't disappoint... though it is quite a disturbing expose of our broken healthcare system. Very well researched and written, and read by a competent and easy-on-the-ears narrator. I wasn't entirely surprised at the level of corruption in the healthcare industry as revealed in these pages, though I wasn't aware just how many players were implicated. Issues that unfortunately involve most of us, but concern very few of us.
"Just listen and be ready to be shocked!"
This is a must listen/purchase book. If you loved Bad Science and or ever will need modern medicine then you need to listen to this book.
"Informative and worrying"
The material here is important. It is also well presented for what is, at points, challenging.
My only reservation is that perhaps it would be easy to take in more of the detail on the written page but that in no way detracts from the quality of the work itself and its narration which are both first rate.
This is an important book that deserves as much attention as we can give it.
"All you ever thought about drugs companies, proven"
Certainly a 'must read' for doctors; a frightening listen for those who rely on medications and who may be of a nervous disposition. I'm not giving anything away - since the title is 'Bad Pharma' - in saying that the book outlines major issues with the development and regulation of the drugs on which many people rely. Should we be worried? Probably. Will the necessary systems be developed and improved? Decide what you think.
"Not the critical appraisal Pharma wanted"
As someone who has worked in the clinical trials and now works in academia, there were times when the points made by Dr Goldacre were uncomfortable. My initial response was to write off these points as misleading, or not representative of the truth. Immediately following this I realised this kind of defensive behaviour is EXACTLY the kind of thing that he's talking about, and it is a fundamental part of why we have failed to address issues in the Pharmaceutical industry.
Having previously read Bad Science, I found Bad Pharma was a step away from an almost comic (though necessary) rant at the anti-science elements of society, toward a rage-inducing, all-encompassing deconstruction of everything that it wrong with Big Pharma. The best part of which is its simplicity.
This book was needed by society. Our personal and economic health depend on the best medications and reliable data. Lack of trust between the populace and Big Pharma only serves to push people toward the grips of AltMed and its brimming coffers.
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