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
Trying to support 1) the comparably smaller non-fiction selection and 2) the few here that are not misinformation. Got mind? Use it.
Capitalism and Health.
Dr. Ben Goldacre follows up his introductory book "Bad Science" with a more-detailed critique of Big Pharma.
Excellent insight from a doctor well-versed in prescribing and the frustrations of Big Pharmaceuticals hiding and manipulating trial data, not to mention having a stranglehold over regulators.
However, since Dr. Goldacre is a doctor, his solutions are limited in scope. He does not have a critique of the Financial power structures, where medicine is just one sector. He does not grasp that the Medicine system is working exactly as it is designed to do, it is working quite perfectly! It is designed for profit, and thus the oligarchs will continue to accumulate wealth regardless of the good and harm that results. This is Capitalism. Without a critique of Political Economics/Power structures, there can only be cheap band-aids and no structural fixes.
For a greater understanding of Political Economics and Power structures, highly recommended to read:
-Matt Taibbi: "Griftopia" (a very fun introductory read!)
-David Graeber: "The Democracy Project", "Debt: The First 5000 Years"
-anything by Michael Hudson, research professor of Economics and author of "Super Imperialism"
-George Orwell: "Homage to Catalonia" (classic!)
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).
"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.
"Take the blue pill"
Reality is often not as it seems. A compelling account of industry practice which exploits the sick in favour of profit, full of verifiable facts.
The author shares important research about the important research that is not shared.
Good narration of a detailed topic in an manner which renders a complex scenario accessible and easy to grasp.
"For anyone interested or concerned with health"
Whether it is your own or a relatives or just how manipulated the general population is.
"Loved every bit of it!"
The book was written very clearly as to be accessible even to those not deep within the medical lore. The narrator was clear, articulated well and generally very pleasant to listen to. The subject matter was very intriguing and (with assumption that all research done was accurate and all. I will have to look into it myself should I ever have the time) quite a nail-biting experience looking back on how 'big pharmas' above will go head over heels into hiding anything wrong with money making drugs. Will definitely be recommending this and hunting for the author's other works!
"lazily researched book by a research academic"
Ben Goodacre may well be an excellent academic researcher however his research into the workings of the pharmaceutical industry representatives is so far off the mark it is laughable. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a company representative and marketed (sold) more than one of the drugs mentioned in the book, the methods described by Ben i.e. looking at patient information etc is simply untrue. I know from first-hand experience that the relationship I've built up with the GPs and hospital doctors I worked with was not one of just exploiting them and I am still friends with many of my old colleagues as I consider them, had I been dishonest with them this would not be the case. I can only conclude that his research into the workings of the pharmaceutical representative is based on fantasy and on lies given to him I buy his so called contact. If there is any truth to the stories regarding pharmaceutical representative they are the absolute exception to the rule. And if he is so slack in his research into that area it makes me question the validity of his research and data going into the rest of the book.
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