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Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine
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Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  290 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Using the examples of Vioxx, Celebrex, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, and anti-depressants, Overdo$ed America shows that at the heart of the current crisis in American medicine lies the commercialization of medical knowledge itself.

Drawing on his background in statistics, epidemiology, and health policy, John Abramson, M.D., an award-winning family doctor on the clinic
Paperback, 334 pages
Published June 14th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published September 21st 2004)
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Nov 01, 2007 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who cares about their health
this is a must-read, though it is very dry. it basically explains how the drug companies are profiting by manipulating the medical industry. the pills in your grandma's medicine cabinet may have been prescribed because a 20-something drug company rep took her doc out to a fancy schmancy dinner, peddling the skewed research data for the drug. doc takes the bait, writes grandma the script for new drug x, and (all too often) drug x is pulled from the market due to some deadly complication.

how many
Sep 12, 2009 Ali rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: amanda peters, mary bailey, stacey killpack, and anyone interested in taking charge of their health
Eye opening. A must for all healthcare consumers.

We bought this book after my husband attended a mind-body institute sponsored through Harvard. Dr. John Abramson was one of the speakers who seriously enlightened my physician science minded husband about the politics behind "research." The internal story is Dr. Abramson took time off of his practice to really study the published studies in the BIG medical journals (JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, NEJM, etc.) Not surprising, much of the "resear
This book is a real eye opener on how commercial interests have superceded the health interests of people by being deeply imbedded in at all levels, including the FDA, peered reviewed journals, our politicians, etc. The author goes over the best preventions for our health (exercise, good diet with lots of vegetables and fruit, and cessation of smoking are his main points). He goes over the minute effect of several drugs (and their bad effects on health) including statin drugs. He shows how stati ...more
Malin Friess
For 2 decades Dr. Abramson a primary care physician cared for patients in a small town north of Boston. But he felt that is ability to practice medicine was undermined as pressure mounted to use the newest drugs (often more expensive) and the newest technologies. He quit practice and with his background in stats and health policy wrote this book; 'Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine.

Abramson contends that even the most well respected medical journals are not immune from
Nov 20, 2012 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
Shelves: non-fiction
I grew up under the belief that I lived in the country with the GREATEST health care system in the world, that "all-knowing" doctors know what's best for me, that prescription drugs are good for my health (and can fix any ailment), and that America's "top-notch" technology and medical “advancement” is for our benefit. Most Americans hold this same belief. Would you agree? Well, I have news for you: You've been duped!

Educate yourself by reading this book.

EVERYONE would benefit from reading "Over
Oct 05, 2008 Andrew rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All Americans curious about why healthcare in America is so crappy.
This book was quite an eye-opener. As a member of the medical community, I have noticed how much we revere uptodate and accessmedicine and epocrates as the pinnacles of medical knowledge. We're so trained to accept guidelines at face value and assume that they follow the evidence. Abramson details how many of these guidelines are written by "experts" with financial links to pharmaceutical companies, leading to deliberate misinterpretation of the evidence in a manner that maximizes profit rather ...more
Check out the summary of this book. Some of it can be skipped if you are already familiar with the issue (such as problems with hormone replacement therapy, the downside of statins, and so on). Actually you can pick and choose which chapters to read. What the book did for me was to drive home the data behind how the pharmaceutical companies disotort medical knowledge for their own gains, such as only reporting studies that seem to support their drug: selling the product is more important than th ...more
Fabiola Miranda
I read this book about three years ago for a class. I was very surprised to find out about a lot of cases where the notorious drug companies (like Merck) produced a drugs that were approved by the FDA, even though they weren't supposed to. In the end, drugs like Celebrex and Vioxx, or drug replacement therapy drugs such as Premarin caused a lot of damage to people because they increased their risk of other types of cancer.

I don't know how to feel about this book. It is very one-sided and I would
Heather Clapp
I always love a book that lets me know that some of my cynical inclinations are actually correct. It dawned on me as a marketing student in college that pharmacudecal companies are probably like any other business that needs to provide a decent ROI to investors or else they will go out of business, AND that in order to do this they must maximize profits. How does any company do such a thing? They focus on profitable activities (drugs that appeal to those with money or insurance), encouraging rep ...more
Kathleen Bonner
I started reading this book as an assignment for my ethics course in pharmacy school, and ended up really questioning the medical world we know...or THINK we know. This book was written by a family practice physician who retired from his job to write this because he was bound and determined to uncover all the crap that goes on today with drug companies, drug reps, and how the American people are responding. There are a few parts that I had a hard time agreeing with because, being in pharmacy sch ...more
How the times have changed since Salk couldn't understand the point to copyrighting the polio vaccine. Drug companies will rig trials with people not afflicted with the disease supposedly cured. If the trial starts to prove something that will hurt a drug's sales, it is cut off and spun... even if that drug will cause more harm / death than cure.

We Americans are to blame always demanding easy fixes. Living a healthy life is better than all the statins and heart procedure advancements we could ev
Just like speakers who can't get to the point and over-use the phrases Uhhhh, and Ummmm, there are writer's who seemingly do the same in the literature, and this is one of these authors. Even though I mostly agree with Dr. Abramson when it comes to the medical world and the use, fabrication, needlessness, in some instances, abuse, and testing of pharmacuticals, his approach to the task at hand was to venture on long winded detours winding around in a knot of pros when a direct line to the point ...more
A Harvard M.D. exposes the systemic corruption of the pharmaceutical industry and how well meaning doctors are taken advantage of by it. He explores the bias with which drug studies are conducted, where medical journals get there funding, where continuing education seminars get there funding and more (And yes, drug companies is the answer to those last two questions). An interesting fact I learned is that few countries outside the U.S. permit the drug companies to market themselves direct to con ...more
This book was written by a doctor who became aware of the increasing influence of pharmaceutical industry on the practice of medicine, decided to research the full extent of it and write a book. Very interesting (and scary). I really enjoyed the book and understand that it was fairly courageous of him to write it - he is challenging the status quo, and challenging his colleagues. Because of all that, I know that he needs to reference everything he says, but reading the continual references and s ...more
This book was recommended to me by an openminded colleague. It was fascinating. If you believe that your doctors are prescribing drugs like candy...and think maybe there is something wrong with this this. It confirmed to me much of what I thought about all those statins being "miracle" drugs. I recommeded it for my graduate students to read. If more people and health practitioners would read books like this, they would become much more empowered with regard to taking charge of the ...more
Loved it. Dr. Abramson uses his knowledge to go back and audit clinical trials that were used to push drugs through the FDA. While do so he discovered how many drugs should not have passed and were no better than placebo. It goes on. He made discovery after discovery and painted a picture in this book with the true ink of the pharmaceutical industry: money.

I interviewed Dr. Abramson about 6 years ago and he is a very thoughtful and thorough individual and doctor. The world needs more of him.
It's hard to believe that this amount of predatory medicine takes place. People who have a good relationship with their doctor will have a hard time with this information - they may not believe it because it is hard to dismiss the trust they have.

There are many books covering this topic. Look in goodreads under 'healthcare reform', 'unnecessary surgery', 'prescription drugs' or other labels that interest you. At least some of these authors must be getting some of the information right.
This was a very interesting read. The writer, a former family doctor, discusses how drug companies manipulate studies to favor the drugs benefits and hide extremely harmful, and even deadly, side effects using cold hard facts. It's a must read because drug companies really need to be stopped from continuing to harm the health of Americans. Everyone should find out the facts of what they're doing and then use the information to tell our leaders to make them stop.
Leah Christine
It was very eye opening to learn that many doctors are prescribing medicines which are not only more costly for the patient, but also less effective than medicines already on the market, just because the doctors are being paid by the pharmaceutical manufacturer to do so.

This book will make you look at the medical field in a whole new light and cause you to question whether that $400 prescription is actually better than the $40 one that's been working for years.
Fairly easy to read, wrenching account of how American medicine has become corrupted by industry.
every man, woman and anyone in between should read this f'ed up account/research into the current state of affairs of health care today. basically describes how the commercialization of heatlh care has ruined any chance that our country has to restore health and a fair perspecitive on research and medications to its citizens. read this before you see a doctor or buy a prescription, oh and also, start exercising and eating healthier.
Took me a while to get through, but not for lack of interest. I learned a lot, and certainly look at things differently now. My trust in certain industries was certainly not high before, so now I feel a bit more validated. This was written mostly on things happening 2003 and back, so I'm not sure what if any changes have been made. Recommend for persons interested in health advocacy, health care, etc.
I thought this was an eye-opening account of the drug companies involvement with how our healthcare is developed and distributed. I know the author is trying to make a case, but he has some very convincing arguements and the subject is pertinent to the current debate about healthcare reform.
Some of his more important points get bogged down in that mire of a middle section. He had my attention at the beginning, then lost it during the middle few chapters that felt duplicative and without aim. Had that section been pared down, it would've been more memorable.
Steve Duong
Nothing new, America's blasphemous demands for quicker, newer, shinier drugs spirals the pharmaceutical industry into nothing more then smoke, mirrors, and fancy advertisements that coaxes us to "Ask your doctor" about so and so breakthrough drug.
Excellent subject matter and I learned lots from this book, but I did not *enjoy* reading it. Something about the writing seemed tedious to me. This book would be good foundational reading for anyone interested in health care policy in the US.
Mar 18, 2008 Kelly added it
A good read to find out how corrupt the drug companies are in the States, and the much biased research that is done in benefit of not the patient but he drug companies. It's actually quite a sad and depressing realization.
I read this book for school and enjoyed it very much. Very relatable to PT school and interesting to see how medicine works- from papers published in reputable journals to how consumers behave. Written by an MD.
Fantastic book. Short summary, exercise, eat healthy, and don't rely on large pharmaceutical companies to give you the best and most accurate information on health.

Definitely recommend this book.
An eye-opening expose of the connections between the American medical system and the drug companies--will make you think twice before taking that next prescription your doctor hands you!
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“In 1955, amid the great fanfare that accompanied the initial release of the [polio] vaccine, Dr. Jonas Salk was asked who owned the patent. He replied, "Well, the people, I would say. Could you patent the sun?” 5 likes
“It is much more important to know what sort of patient has a disease than what sort of disease a patient has.” 3 likes
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