Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

Ben Goldacre

Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

Bad Science 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. 4.3 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Science & Nature
Format Paperback
Pages 448
RRP
Date of Publication September 2012
ISBN 978-0007350742
Publisher Fourth Estate
 

Bad Science 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.

Reviews

The Economist

The Economist

The danger with a book like this is that it ends up lost in abstract discussion of difficult subjects. But Dr Goldacre illustrates his points with a plethora of real-world stories and examples. Some seem almost too breathtaking to be true — but every claim is referenced and backed up by links to research and primary documents ... This is a book that deserves to be widely read, because anyone who does read it cannot help feeling both uncomfortable and angry.

25/10/2012

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The New Statesman

Helen Lewis

This is an important book. Ben Goldacre is angry, and by the time you put Bad Pharma down, you should be too … But the real strength of Goldacre’s book is that he has answers. If poorly funded and easily swayed regulators can’t police the industry, then make the data available to everyone. Replace bewildering consent forms with shorter ones in plain English. Scrap the endless drug information labels that list every conceivable side effect (from heart attacks to bad breath) with simple checklists that show how common they are.

04/10/2012

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The Guardian

Luisa Dillner

Goldacre's previous book Bad Science is an easier read, since exposing charlatans can, at times, be played for laughs. Bad Pharma is altogether more sombre and grim — a thorough piece of investigative medical journalism. What keeps you turning its pages is the accessibility of Goldacre's writing (only slightly flabby in places), his genuine, indignant passion, his careful gathering of evidence and his use of stories, some of them personal, which bring the book to life.

20/10/2012

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The Sunday Telegraph

Max Pemberton

More often than not the book reads like a whodunit rather than a work of pop-pharmacology. This is a book that desperately needed to be written and I’m so pleased that Goldacre took up the challenge. More brevity would have helped, but it is none the less a work of brilliance.

22/10/2012

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The Sunday Times

Lois Rogers

For all Goldacre’s campaigning zeal, it is hard to see what, if anything, can be done about the situation he describes, short of some kind of global consumer court. He suggests numerous innovations to improve transparency, but then points out that international codes of conduct are openly ignored. One intriguing way forward, however, is hidden away in one of the many “fancy that” facts presented in the book — that while drug whistle-blowers in Britain are routinely silenced and sacked, in America they receive a cut of any fine imposed.

14/10/2012

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The Financial Times

Andrew Jack

For readers other than the unethical pharma neophyte, it is an intense and a depressing read — both for the facts outlined but also the limited nuance … For all the flaws legitimately and valuably highlighted by Goldacre, “bad pharma” is not entirely evil.

26/09/2012

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