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Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients
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Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  2,544 ratings  ·  370 reviews
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 ofthe researchis hidden from them by drug companies. We like to imagine that doctors areimpartially educated,...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Faber & Faber (first published 2012)
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knig
Stop Press: this should be compulsory reading for anyone…with a pulse, really. I can’t think of a single person who should be excused from the reading rota here.

This is the MOST appalling, horrific, mind-numbing expose on the current state of medicine I had never hoped to see, or know, or be a part of. Ever.

You ever go to the doctor? You a doctor? No? Maybe you expect the doctor, as the specialist, to be able to diagnose and treat you accordingly. I know I do: I go in with my ailments and I lik...more
Pedro Molina
I think this book may have an enormous impact in public health.
Read the first chapters and already amazed, enthralled and utterly shocked by some of the revelations. It doesn't surprise me that drug companies are withholding data from public scrutiny but it sickens me to learn that publicly funded regulators are also in the game... Now that I have finished it, I have a much deeper knowledge of how Big Pharma actually harms patients and, better still, a list of actions anyone can take to help imp...more
Paul Cheney
Goldacre has a way of making complex science subjects accessible to the wider public. His first book, Bad Science, highlighted the way that the media dealt with reporting science, and in this book he concentrates his ire onto the $600 billion global pharmacy industry, now dominated by a handful of behemoths.

And what he reveals is frankly terrifying. He details the way that the industry hides a large majority of the trial data, the way that the legislation requiring data to be published is ignore...more
Scott
Currently reading this but not so sure how much more I can take. There is some decent information here. The title is absolutely true. Drug companies are businesses and multibillion dollar corporations are not ethical paragons. They do not publish studies that make their drug look bad or even "as good as." There are sponsored journals that are sponsor biased. Sometimes legit journals want the most interesting "this changes everything" articles rather than another "dog bites man" article to boost...more
Andy
I appreciate how Ben Goldacre is trying to open the eyes of the people to many of the issues relating to science reporting. I check his blog every now and then, but this is the first time I've read his books. As background, I'm a GP in NZ, British by birth and training, closer to the start of my career than the end and I don't see drug reps or attend drug sponsored CME (consciously at least; sometimes it can be difficult to tell). I'm also fairly clued up on the issues he presents here so in som...more
Duncan
Here Ben Goldacre follows up on his previous book, Bad Science, by turning his spotlight solely on the pharmaceuticals industry. This is a terrifying book because it argues in great detail that our understanding of the efficacy of many drugs and the extent of their side effects is fundamentally flawed.

Goldacre starts with the criticism he finds most damning: namely, when drug companies conduct a trial and the results don't support their own medecine, they frequently fail to publish the results -...more
Bastian Greshake
Okay, somehow Goodreads didn't save the last review I tried to write. So I'll try again:

If I only had read this book a day earlier I could have flagged it as the most depressing read of 2012. It made me cry out loud and swear a lot (just ask my girlfriend who had to listen to it for the most time).

Bad Pharma gives a great overview on how medicine is failing patients (aka each of us) all the time. Publication bias, missing access to raw data and all the other nuisances which might be familiar t...more
Darrell
"The story of the serotonin hypothesis for depression, and its enthusiastic promotion by drug companies, is part of a wide process that has been called 'disease-mongering' or 'medicalisation', where diagnostic categories are widened, whole new diagnoses are invented, and normal variants of human experience are pathologised, so they can be treated with pills."

Ben Goldacre touched on the evils of the pharmaceutical industry in his previous book, Bad Science, and this book greatly expands upon thos...more
John
This is an outstanding book and everyone should read it. It took me about 3 sittings to get through it as I found rage slowly building as I read it and had to get up and pace around the house a bit.

The book systematically works through all the ways in which the practice of evidence based medicine is being distorted by the big pharmaceutical companies. It identifies all of the perverse incentives that make those distortions an unavoidable part of doing business, and then helpfully identifies ways...more
Donna Brown
Bad Pharma is actually a fairly scary book to pick up when you’ve just collected a prescription from the chemist but I’d heard a lot about Bad Science (which I’ve since read) and thought Bad Pharma would be incredibly interesting. I certainly wasn’t wrong.

This is pretty much a damaging expose of the pharmaceutical industry’s involvement in modern medicine. Not necessarily their manufacture and distribution of tablets that do improve people’s lives every day but more the unnecessary peddling of d...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
From the introduction:
'Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques which are flawed by design, in a such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favour the manufacturer. When trials throw up results that companies don't like, they are perfectly entitled to hide them from doctors and patients, s...more
T. Edmund
Bad Pharma is a sequel of sorts from the author of Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks an original piece about poor scientific process, across a variety of fields.

Pharma on the other hand lampoons the pharmaceutical industry (I bet you didn't guess from the name) targeting biased publishing trends, dodgy marketing tactics, and misinformed regulators (amongst other concerns) including his own ideas on solutions and prevention.

Unlike many polemics Goldacre's solutions are well thoug...more
Jeff
At first sight this might be seen as another piece of new-age anti-pharma ranting: Big Pharma is Bad and therefore we should not trust it or use its products, turning our backs on the knowledge that has extended life-spans and improved our health during our lives.

To make such an assumption would be to do this book a grave injustice; Ben Goldacre is himself a doctor and believes whole-heartedly in the benefits that modern medicine has brought to humankind. What he objects to is, as shown in his c...more
Tim
Well, who'd have guessed it? The big pharmaceutical companies aren't altruistic, transparent purveyors of the unbiased and complete truth.

Actually this is an important and useful book, but one that struggles between its need to inform the casual reader and the necessity of ensuring all the arguments that a multi-billion dollar industry can throw at it can be rebutted. At time this makes it a bit slow and hard going.

The key points I took away were:
1) The results of many drugs trials aren't publis...more
Zach
This is a great overview into one of the largest health and economic problems today. As someone with experience in both the world of research and clinical medicine, I can say that the information in this book is accurate. The information is presented in a surprisingly non-biased and non 'conspiracy theory' way. The organization is such that there is wonderful flow and each idea builds on itself. I appreciate the fact that there are proposed solutions to the problems, many of which have the poten...more
Athan Tolis
I was walking around Notting Hill with my buddy Elias, who runs a biotech company. “How’s work?” I asked, as one does.


He disappeared for a second in the famous bookstore from the Hugh Grant movie and emerged with this thick tome.


“Read this and then we can talk,” he said.


The book is a full-on attack on the pharmaceutical industry. No part of it escapes


The author starts with testing. In short, negative trials (the kind that say a new treatment did not work) disappear more often than they don’t. T...more
Gendou
I wanted to like this book. It's about an important issue, made clear in the title. My problem with this book is that it's one-sided and comes off more as fear mongering than justified skepticism. Goldacre seems to have embraced the conspiracy theory point of view so toxic to this real problem. In order to paint medical science in a scary light, Goldacre starts the book with a gory description of the TGN1412 incident, just to frighten his readers.

He often argues from false dichotomy and paints a...more
Simon Howard
Perhaps the most important things to say at the start of a review of Bad Pharma is that I think that Goldacre argues convincingly for a sound central thesis. I accept the argument that there are serious flaws in the pharmaceutical industry’s approach to the research, discovery, production and marketing of drugs, and in the pharmaceutical industry’s relationship with doctors (and vice versa). Goldacre’s clear elucidation of many of the issues deserves praise, and makes this a worthy book.

I also,...more
Erika
Had to add a new shelf -- demagoguery -- for this one. Good God. But then again, his website says he frequently gives speeches in rock venues, so what do you expect.
Malcolm
This is a great instance of science not standing up to scrutiny by its own methods.

One of the great crimes of health care is that it is dominated by companies whose primary concern is profit, not necessarily our health; these are not the private health providers but drug companies. I have been around this area for years, from my days as a trade union campaign organiser in the public health sector and now in a university School of Sport and Exercise with a strong strand dealing with public health...more
Leo Abrantes
[O texto original pode ser lido aqui: http://comcept.org/2013/05/23/os-male...]

Um meme recorrente em comentários de jornais, blogs ou sites a propósito de qualquer assunto sobre saúde é o ataque à Indústria farmacêutica. Quem ousa, por exemplo, criticar terapias não comprovadas, ou suplementos alimentares, ouve, invariavelmente uma repetição dos mesmos argumentos: “Quem faz a crítica é pago pela indústria”, ou “ a indústria está a deliberadamente a esconder a substância natural, sem efeitos secu...more
Harry Rutherford
Ben Goldacre's previous book, Bad Science, was effectively an adaptation of his Guardian columns of the same name, and although it wasn't a straightforward compilation, it had something of the same character: a bit of a grab-bag of subjects, held together by the broad theme of bad science and bad science journalism, with a emphasis on trying to entertain as well as inform.

This is a more focussed book. And a drier one, which you may or may not think is a good thing, depending on your tolerance fo...more
Todd Martin
In order to weed out fact from fiction scientists utilize the scientific method, a body of techniques that serves to produce an unbiased, objective set of results. In addition to providing the methodological framework for creating experiments, the scientific method also requires that experimenter’s perform extensive documentation and share all data so that others are able to review it and verify that the conclusions are indeed correct. Although the process is sometimes slow and tedious, it is th...more
Carolyn
We all know that big drug companies try to influence doctors to prescribe their drugs with gifts from attractive sales reps and free travel to supposedly-educational conferences in lovely places. But did you know that those conferences are biased? A majority of their drug studies (the ones whose conclusions reveal ineffectiveness or bad side-effects or are otherwise undesirable to their sponsors) are never published, and nobody keeps track? That most study results are ghostwritten by specialized...more
Hilary Hicklin
This book should come with a health warning! Especially if you already suffer from high blood pressure because for sure your blood pressure will shoot up before you've got further than the first few pages.

Basically Goldacre provides evidence to show that the current system of drug testing, submission and approval by the "regulatory" authorities is a disgrace. The reasons are: "the drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird...more
Donna Riley-lein
Bad Pharma

Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre is a young physician who has made a second career for himself trying to make science understandable to the lay person.
His first book, Bad Science, was a fun, intelligent but accessible read that should have made one more aware of how scientists (at least the bad ones) skew and obfuscate results. Why is this bad? Well, read the book. Or check out his blog, http://www.badscience.net/
That works for science in general, but getting the point across when the subject...more
Sherafgan Khan
This book tells a dismal tail of the true realities in the medical world. Regardless of your occupation or field of industry, you should read this, because one day you will become sick, and more than likely, you will be prescribed medication. This book will make you question: why brand name drugs are still being prescribed after they are out of patent, how easy it is for companies to extend or create new patents by simply making a mirror molecule of the same exact drug (enantiomers), how a "60%...more
Julie
Everyone who takes medications, everyone who writes prescriptions, everyone who recommends medications, everyone who dispenses or administers medications should read this book. Some of the discussions are a bit complex but Ben Goldacre writes as straightforwardly as possible on this subject. He clears up some of the odd things I've observed naively in my work. It's sort of embarrassing to admit, when Idrolax was being heavily marketed, I couldn't understand why they showed us research papers com...more
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Bad Pharma from B. Goldacre - Truth or Fiction? Any related personal experiences? 3 62 Aug 12, 2013 07:26PM  
drug ads 4 16 Apr 15, 2013 03:40AM  
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Ben Goldacre is a British science writer and psychiatrist, born in 1974. He is the author of The Guardian newspaper's weekly Bad Science column and a book of the same title, published by Fourth Estate in September 2008.
Goldacre is the son of Michael Goldacre, professor of public health at the University of Oxford, the nephew of science journalist Robyn Williams, and the great-great-grandson of Sir...more
More about Ben Goldacre...
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“The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is sponsored by Coca-Cola.” 6 likes
“So, if we're to make any sense of the mess that the pharmaceutical industry - and my profession - has made of the academic literature, then we need an amnesty: we need a full and clear declaration of all the distortions, on missing data, ghostwriting, and all the other activity described in this book, to prevent the ongoing harm that they still cause.” 3 likes
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