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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

Medicine is broken. We like to imagine that it's based on evidence and the results of fair tests. In reality, those tests are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors are familiar with the research literature surrounding 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 industry.
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Publisher's Summary

Medicine is broken. We like to imagine that it's based on evidence and the results of fair tests. In reality, those tests are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors are familiar with the research literature surrounding 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 industry. We like to imagine that regulators let only effective drugs onto the market, when in reality they approve hopeless drugs, with data on side effects casually withheld from doctors and patients.

All these problems have been protected from public scrutiny because they're too complex to capture in a sound bite. But Dr. 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 on a global scale affects us. In his own words, "the tricks and distortions documented in these pages are beautiful, intricate, and fascinating in their details." With Goldacre's characteristic flair and a forensic attention to detail, Bad Pharma reveals a shockingly broken system and calls for something to be done. This is the pharmaceutical industry as it has never been seen before.

©2013 Ben Goldacre (P)2013 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A useful guide for policymakers, doctors and the patients who need protection against deliberate disinformation.” (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (56 )
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  •  
    zerodynamics Takoma Park, MD, United States 03-01-13
    zerodynamics Takoma Park, MD, United States 03-01-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A must read for health professionals"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes


    What other book might you compare Bad Pharma to and why?

    Anatomy of an Epidemic. Both provide invaluable information about pharmaceuticals, both are scrupulously researched


    Which character – as performed by Jonathan Cowley – was your favorite?

    Like most people, I assumed that the process by which prescriptions meds were approved met the highest of scientific standards. I am a researcher by training and I understand that while meeting such standards is difficult, it isn't optional. Goldacre's review of the process is a bit dramatic in tone, but his facts are verifiable and his case is quite credible. As a psychologist, this information is particularly valuable to me. Most of my clients take some kind of medication, and all assume that these meds are proven safe and effective. The more I know about the efficacy and safety of medications, the better able I am to work with my clients and their doctors (many of whom ALSO assume all meds are safe and effective, compliments of the FDA)


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dellstudio COLLEGEVILLE, PA, United States 06-28-13
    dellstudio COLLEGEVILLE, PA, United States 06-28-13 Member Since 2010

    Internal Medicine Doctor

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Read this book before you prescribe again"
    What did you love best about Bad Pharma?

    The author pulls down the curtain of deception that has been held before our eyes by the drug makers. Here in one volume, the author tells the whole story of what they are really up to. There is no step in the process of bringing a drug to market that has not been corrupted. Step by step, the author systematically and thoroughly goes through all of the ways drug development and sales are adversely impacted by the drug industry.Very early in the book, I came realize that, because the medical literature is so corrupted, physicians (such as myself) do not have a true understand about the medicines we prescribe. We don't know if medicines are effective and we don't know if the cause more harm than good. Decades of research are called into question by the author. His conclusions are persuasive and kind of depressing. Much of what we think we know about the medicines on the market today is based on incomplete set of data leaving patients and their doctors in the dark about what this stuff is good for. The ray of hope here is that the author provides concrete recommendations to correct the problems he has discovered. After each major section of the book, he lists what he would do to fix this broken system. Example, to prevent publication bias. All drug studies should be registered and should be published. negative studies provide just as much data positive studies.


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

    The author exposes the problems of drug research that does not get published if the findings show the drug fails to work or produces adverse events.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book may make you depressed at first but then you get angry


    Any additional comments?

    This book should be a included in the core curriculum at every medical school in the world. Every doctor in training should know what the drug makers are up to and that they need to be put on guard. Every doctor who is already in practice should read it too. I have already suggested it no many colleagues.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard J. Peach Boston 03-13-14
    Richard J. Peach Boston 03-13-14 Member Since 2013

    RP

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Informative"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bad Pharma to be better than the print version?

    Yes because the book at times was very technical and hard to follow. Having someone reading it made it more enjoyable in my opinion.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Just the way Big Pharma was exposed and the author actually offered solutions to the problems he was proposing, not just listing or complaining about them


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Cowley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No this one was the first and he has a nice clear smooth voice


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

    "Making A Killing" What People Need To Know About Big Pharma


    Any additional comments?

    The book is designed for health care professionals and I think they would have enjoyed it even more due to working in that industry. It was very informative, dry at times. The 2nd half of the book was much more entertaining than the first part. It's not an exciting read but every, health care professional and patient should read and understand how Big Pharma works.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 01-06-14
    Sam Motes Tampa 01-06-14 Member Since 2011

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bad ethics one pill at a time"

    A scary look at our broken medical system that is driven by profits by pharmaceutical companies rather them patient care. Only trials supporting the desired outcome by the company get polished and the negative ones are buried which leads doctors who try to do the right thing for their patience prescribing treatments on faulty data that leads to wasted money on treatments and unwarranted pain, suffering, and death of patients. Pharma reps provide biased training and perks including posh seminar troops I. Desired locals with luxury food and drinks tainting doctor's decisions. Not only a wake up call about our broken medical system but a cautionary story of bad strategic decisions being made based on biased data spoon feed by self interested unscrupulous stakeholders desiring a certain direction that can plaque any industry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 11-24-13
    Tim United States 11-24-13 Member Since 2010

    Not a mainstream reader.

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    "Not for the Common Patient"

    The information in "Bad Pharma" is not well explained. It feels like more of a conspiracy theory for drug companies and their trials. You really have to be a doctor to comprehend all of the pharmaceutical names for the medicines and their side effects. The material is not well put together for the common patient. Unless you know how to read your medical chart, the information is not presented for any average person that visit their doctors' on a regular bases.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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