“Medicine is Broken”: Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma


Eight days a week. Photo by Robbie1, via flickr. Some rights reserved.

From the muckraker troublemaker Dr. Ben Goldacre, of Bad Science fame:

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.

Somebody’s writing some good jacket copy, and I suspect that Ben Goldacre has written a very good book. Out Sept 27 in the UK, Jan 13 in the US.

Photo by Robbie1, via flickr. Some rights reserved.

One response

  1. What David is bringing to everyones attention here is just the tip of the iceberg. Dr. Ben Goldacre’s book will hopefully get additional publicity and be brought to the attention of the public at large. Big Pharma has indeed perverted the practice of medicine with regard to medication development. This by hiding research and employing “tricks and distortions”, and even worse, by repeatedly reengineering the same crap and selling back to us again at an astronomical price. They also monopolize the marketplace and manipulate the market by buying up competitors and shutting down generics. Justice Department anyone?

    As for the FDA, I can’t even begin to describe what a horrific monstrosity this has evolved into. Out of control bureaucrats using an outdated, misconceived system and being manipulated by many inappropriate outside forces.

    Worst of all, the misuse of “evidence based medicine” with statistical shenanigans. The guilty culprits? Both the Government and the health insurance industry. Using it to control the practice of medicine for nothing but profit and financial gain. In the meantime, we physicians are bought up by corporations and private practices are going out of business.

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