The Truth About the Drug Companies

The Truth About the Drug Companies

How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It

Book - 2004
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During her two decades atTheNew England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell had a front-row seat on the appalling spectacle of the pharmaceutical industry. She watched drug companies stray from their original mission of discovering and manufacturing useful drugs and instead become vast marketing machines with unprecedented control over their own fortunes. She saw them gain nearly limitless influence over medical research, education, and how doctors do their jobs. She sympathized as the American public, particularly the elderly, struggled and increasingly failed to meet spiraling prescription drug prices. Now, in this bold, hard-hitting new book, Dr. Angell exposes the shocking truth of what the pharmaceutical industry has become--and argues for essential, long-overdue change. Currently Americans spend a staggering $200 billion each year on prescription drugs. As Dr. Angell powerfully demonstrates, claims that high drug prices are necessary to fund research and development are unfounded: The truth is that drug companies funnel the bulk of their resources into the marketing of products of dubious benefit. Meanwhile, as profits soar, the companies brazenly use their wealth and power to push their agenda through Congress, the FDA, and academic medical centers. Zeroing in on hugely successful drugs like AZT (the first drug to treat HIV/AIDS), Taxol (the best-selling cancer drug in history), and the blockbuster allergy drug Claritin, Dr. Angell demonstrates exactly how new products are brought to market. Drug companies, she shows, routinely rely on publicly funded institutions for their basic research; they rig clinical trials to make their products look better than they are; and they use their legions of lawyers to stretch out government-granted exclusive marketing rights for years. They also flood the market with copycat drugs that cost a lot more than the drugs they mimic but are no more effective. The American pharmaceutical industry needs to be saved, mainly from itself, and Dr. Angell proposes a program of vital reforms, which includes restoring impartiality to clinical research and severing the ties between drug companies and medical education. Written with fierce passion and substantiated with in-depth research,The Truth About the Drug Companiesis a searing indictment of an industry that has spun out of control.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2004
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780375508462
0375508465
Branch Call Number: 338.4361510973 Ang
Characteristics: xx, 305 p

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rpavlacic
Aug 12, 2015

This was a shocking book. Two well intentioned pieces of legislation that were meant to foster competition and innovation, which should have meant lower drug prices, instead sent them through the stratosphere. Any company that spends way more on advertising than on actual research and development - and more to the point, actually making breakthrough products rather than "me too" reformulations - seriously has its priorities all wrong. The focus should be on patient care, not the benefit of shareholders - and it clearly is not. This is becoming a bigger problem in Canada, where new drugs which have potential life saving effects are breaking the banks of provincial health care plans that buy drugs for seniors and indigents - forcing the normally fiercely independent sub-national jurisdictions to pool their buying power. The author, a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, writes this book with gravitas and should be a wake-up call to those who believe in the simple principle that health care should be affordable for everyone and that no one should have to choose between drugs and keeping the lights on.

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ReadRobin
Aug 09, 2015

Looks like an excellent source, and Star Gladiator's comments are usually spot on.

s
StarGladiator
Aug 08, 2015

A few years old, but just as timely today as then, probably more so! Never cared for either Morley Safer [60 Minutes either] nor Aaron Brown, so not surprised by what I read in this book about them. Dr. Angell covers all angles with regard to the pharmaceutical companies crafting tests and announcements to fool us!

w
Winston4ever
May 18, 2015

Read this and got a lot of information that I did not have. I recommend it to everyone and am about to re-read it myself. I should have this on my bookshelf, and I do, it's at the KCLS, best library around.

2
21288004246712
Oct 07, 2010

Rare to get this level of analysis into a serious problem in the US,, and that is corporate greed and political corruption in the lucrative health sector.

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