Saturday, 22 September 2012

Bad Pharma

There is something of a seismic shift going on in the UK.  Where once we revered celebrity chefs, Geek are now taking over the airwaves - or as I like to call them, intelligent people offering informative, educational media content. 

Ben Goldacre is one of a whole host of 'antiwoo', scientifically-minded people to have entered popular culture - following on from the likes of Feinman and Sagan, through Dawkins and Hitchens, and now alongside the likes of Brian Cox and Robin Ince.

Goldacre probably can't cook as well as 'Jamie', but when it comes to 'science', and in particular medical research Goldacre is one of the brightest guys out there.  I blogged some time ago about Bad Science, his first book, and he has now followed this up with Bad Pharma, an audacious expose of how the pharmaceutical industry is motivated largely by avarice, and how those quality gates at every level, designed to protect the patient, have proved largely worthless,
  • ‘Bad Science’ hilariously 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.

    Patients are harmed in huge numbers.
There is a great extract in today's Guardian.  Me?  I am eagerly awaiting delivery of my copy and in the meantime am happy to leave the tin foil in the drawer.  Follow the money!

UPDATE: David Calquhoun has a great review of the book here.

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