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Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients | [Ben Goldacre]

Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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  •  
    Rees 07-17-15
    Rees 07-17-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    Story
    "Excellent"

    Brilliant. Important book which is well performed. Hopefully read by many doctors and policy makers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin 06-11-15
    Kevin 06-11-15

    Trying to support 1) the comparably smaller non-fiction selection and 2) the few here that are not misinformation. Got mind? Use it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    18
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Big Pharma exposed by a doctor."
    If you could sum up Bad Pharma in three words, what would they be?

    Capitalism and Health.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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!)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hans 01-11-15
    Hans 01-11-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Frightening and illuminating"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taiki Scarborough, Australia 07-14-13
    Taiki Scarborough, Australia 07-14-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    1
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    Story
    "Ben Goldacre: The gentlest assassin"
    What made the experience of listening to Bad Pharma the most enjoyable?

    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.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    We don't know anything we think we know about drugs...and that is terrifying.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a harder ride than Bad Science, but it was worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Lut
    Antwerpen, Belgium
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Kindle Customer
    England
    7/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Olivia
    Waterlooville, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Koh Han Hoo
    Belfast, UK
    12/7/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great listen, heavy on the science"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Bad Pharma?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Jot Davies’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Realisation how large the problem is that is set out by the author


    Any additional comments?

    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).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • F Gibb
    Dumfries
    4/11/13
    Overall
    "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.



    Sorry Ben.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    Lower King, Australia
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Derek Carrillo
    11/28/12
    Overall
    "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.



    Brilliant 5*

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Michelle
    Hawthorn, Australia
    9/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Same and compelling critique"

    Not the conspiracy theory I'd expected. More frightening and more potentially hopeful than that. A really interesting read, with very clear examples and a touch of humour.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David Kerrigan
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating and Disturbing Insight"
    Where does Bad Pharma rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Great book - full of revelations about how we need to be more aware of what goes on surrounding the medicines we take


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was accessible for quite a technical subject, but written with compelling insight and humour


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr D J W Evans
    6/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent but depressing"

    A really really good listen. A Well synthesised story that accurately frames the magnitude of the problem

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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