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Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead…

Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Ben Goldacre

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Title:Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients
Authors:Ben Goldacre
Info:Faber & Faber (2013), Edition: Reprint, Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:Your library

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Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients by Ben Goldacre (2012)



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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
It is possible to be so cynical that nothing that Goldacre describes is in the least surprising, but at the same time to be interested in the mechanism.

Goldacre is currently making the problems described in this book is life's work. The book is meant to persuade people: patients, doctors and workers in the pharmaceutical industry, to make changes for the better. He suggests actions that people in all these groups could take. Some suggestions seem hopelessly naive, but perhaps they are included as satire.

Goldacre addresses the book to a lay audience unfamiliar with statistics, using well-chosen analogies to get his point across. He uses identical phrasing throughout the book, to remind those less familiar with statistics, what effect the behavior he is discussing has on the best available knowledge about a particular drug.

On a personal note, a near relative of mine nearly died from a adverse reaction to a medication he had been prescribed for bursitis in his elbow. We do not know if previous adverse reactions had been covered up by the industry, or if his reaction made it into the medical literature. ( )
  themulhern | Oct 21, 2017 |
Another excellent book by Ben Goldacre. In this book he argues that modern medicine is terribly corrupted by the commercial forces that act largely unchecked in the marketplace -- studies which don't make a new drug look good go missing; new drugs are compared only against placebo and not against the current best treatment; doctors are routinely bribed with travel, training and small perks. Overall I'm left feeling like things haven't improved much since this book was published, given that these behaviors still seem common.

The book does offer concrete actions that we could take to fix things, but I don't see many of these happening any time soon, which is a worrying place to be. Overall, a disturbing but important read.

http://www.stillhq.com/book/Ben_Goldacre/Bad_Pharma.html ( )
  mikal | Apr 20, 2016 |
We don't regulate our drugs and the drug companies enough and insist on ensuring that data about the edges of results, I begin to wonder if the drug companies had previous seen the side-effects I suffered with a blood pressure medication and if I could have avoided hundreds of euro in specialist fees in discovering this MYSELF!

Interesting look at how drug companies present their goods and how the love of money is indeed the root of many evils. How bias can creep in with doctors and cause them to favour one drug company over another and prescribe their drugs and how this can, often inadvertently, cause harm. There is also a touch of a discussion of overmedicalisation of normal, where drug companies are encouraging doctors to have people on medication, even if they don't really need it.

It's a conversation we need to have. Though there also needs to be more testing on the filler in drugs, particularly on generics. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jun 16, 2015 |
Drugs / testing ; Drugs / testing / moral and ethical aspects ; Clinical trials / moral and ethical aspects ; Pharmaceutical industry / moral and ethical aspects ; Drugs / quality control ; 978-0-86547-806-0
  Biovitrum | Mar 20, 2015 |
Ben Goldacre is a very angry man, with good reason. In this book he lays out how the pharmaceutical industry has distorted drug research in pursuit of profit, sometimes intentionally, sometimes entirely without malice but with equally devastating effects for patient welfare. This matters because patients are prescribed less effective drugs, or drugs which are outright harmful, at huge financial expense to those paying for the drugs. This isn’t a conspiracy theory book; Goldacre is quite clear that many valuable drugs have come out of the industry, and that most of the people who work in it want to make better drugs. He sets out in detail how and why bias is introduced into both research and prescribing practices, putting it in layman’s terms but linking to the research papers and court documents that back up what he’s saying. He also addresses the failings of the current regulatory system, and proposes ways to improve things — pointing out that unless real controls with serious financial penalties are put in place, even those companies which genuinely want to reform will be under commercial pressure to continue with bad practice in a race to the bottom.

It’s a dense and at times exhausting read. But Goldacre has done a decent job of making the issue accessible to a wide audience with a direct interest, from patients to practising doctors and academics. You can skim a lot of the book to get the general gist, or you can read it in details without following the links, or you can dig into research material he drew on and has laid out in meticulous footnotes and citations. He concludes the original edition with practical suggestions about what individual people can do to improve things, often simply by asking questions.

I read the second edition, which has a “what happened next” chapter about the reaction to the first edition. As he had predicted, there was a backlash in an attempt to discredit him — but there was also a lot of covert feedback from industry personnel acknowledging the problems and considering how to improve things. While there’s always a “the lurkers support me in email” issue with uncredited sources, he does also offer some examples of companies which have publicly moved to improve transparency.

Bad Pharma is an angry but rational examination of a real problem that affects millions of people, including almost anyone reading this review. It’s a worthwhile read, even if it makes for uncomfortable reading for patients, doctors and companies alike. ( )
  JulesJones | Jan 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Goldacre is not a conspiracy minded nutcase who sees bad guys behind every garbage can. No, he sees a system that has, despite some really perverse incentives, produced some blindingly good products. But those incentives also allow life-threateningly poor decisions to be rewarded, and that needs to change.

Goldacre's encouraging outlook is why each chapter ends with a list of what you, personally, can do to help. Questions you can ask your doctor if you are a patient. Things you can do as a doctor. What academics can do, what pharmaceutical companies can do.

Read this book. It will make you mad, it will make you scared. And, hopefully, it will bring about some change.
added by jimroberts | editArs Technica, Chris Lee (Jan 5, 2013)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ben Goldacreprimary authorall editionscalculated
Corral, RodrigoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cowley, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lacey, RobertCopy editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Goldacre puts the 600-billion-dollar global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. What he reveals is a fascinating, terrifying mess.

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