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The Drug Hunters Audiobook

The Drug Hunters: The Improbable Quest to Discover New Medicines

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Publisher's Summary

The search to find medicines is as old as disease, which is to say as old as the human race. Through serendipity - by chewing, brewing, and snorting - some Neolithic souls discovered opium, alcohol, snakeroot, juniper, frankincense, and other helpful substances. Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,000-year-old hunter frozen in the Italian Alps, was found to have whipworms in his intestines and Bronze Age medicine, a worm-killing birch fungus, knotted to his leggings. Nowadays Big Pharma conglomerates spend billions of dollars on state-of-the art laboratories staffed by PhDs to discover blockbuster drugs. Yet despite our best efforts to engineer cures, luck, trial and error, risk, and ingenuity are still fundamental to medical discovery.

The Drug Hunters is a colorful, fact-filled narrative history of the search for new medicines from our Neolithic forebears to the professionals of today and from quinine and aspirin to Viagra, Prozac, and Lipitor.

©2017 Donald R. Kirsch and Ogi Ogas (P)2017 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A lively and sweeping look at the history of drug discovery and how difficult, expensive, and pivotal the search has proven to be." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (44 )
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Performance
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  •  
    ilkka Turku, Finland 07-12-17
    ilkka Turku, Finland 07-12-17 Member Since 2017

    A fan of books on psychology, biosphere and business. Favourites: Vaclav Smil, Joshua Foer, Warren Buffett, David Christian, Guy Spier.

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    "History of modern pharmacology"

    Very interesting and relevant!

    A a physician I use (on my patients) all of the drugs that this book covers. The book also covers pretty much all of the drug families. Should've read this much earlier.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barb 08-05-17
    Barb 08-05-17
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    "Fascinating"

    A very interesting book for anybody interested in medicine or pharmacy.
    It turns out we are lucky a modern medicine can successfully treat so many diseases, since discovering medicines is still and has been, despite all the science advances, a lot of luck and serendipity.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-23-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Absolutely fascinating"

    I loved this book! It tells the stories of how different medications came to exist - a compelling mix of history, science, politics, and sociology. Good narrator. I highly recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Cramer 03-10-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Makes me glad I live in the 21st century"

    This is a great read for others like me who harbor a failed but absurdly optimistic scientist inside him or herself. This book highlights the immense luck involved with discovering and refining seeds of promise to produce true medical breakthroughs.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-24-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Enjoyed it very much"

    Great book. Was much better than I expected with a ton if interesting stories and info. Want to listen to it again just in case I missed anything.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Lubout 09-14-17
    Anne Lubout 09-14-17 Member Since 2017
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    "The world of pharmacological innovation"

    a History of how drugs common drugs were developed and new how new ones are discovered.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria 09-10-17
    Maria 09-10-17 Member Since 2016
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    "loved it!"

    Absolutely loved it. This is the type of books I enjoy - non-fiction, storytelling, history of science and discovery outlined in an easy-to-absorb manner, a series of cases (each curious, and all illustrating the changes in drug development over ~150 years).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Ferrer Delray Beach, Florida USA 08-31-17
    Patricia Ferrer Delray Beach, Florida USA 08-31-17 Member Since 2015
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    "makes one appreciate the med we have available"

    storytelling of the medication we take for granted. a must read for anyone in the medical professional.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Philadelphia, PA, United States 08-30-17
    Susan Philadelphia, PA, United States 08-30-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Nothing New"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No...unless they knew nothing about drugs at all.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Donald R. Kirsch PhD and Ogi Ogas PhD again?

    Probably not since they see to have nothing to say. Their history of pharmaceuticals was accurate enough but contained nothing not already in Wikapedia.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narrator was ok but he didn’t always pronounce the drug names(especially generic names) correctly.


    Was The Drug Hunters worth the listening time?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I just have to wonder how this thing got published.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Curmud the prof 05-20-17
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    "Aargh!"

    As a pharmacologist myself I found the book contained some interesting back stories on the discovery and development of certain drugs. The mechanisms described were simplistic to a fault in some cases. But the pronunciation of many, perhaps most of the drug and chemical names, was awful. For this and similar books we need readers with a background - or extensive tutoring in the field - so that a lay person will hear the big words properly.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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