Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves Into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs
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Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves Into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  273 ratings  ·  80 reviews
In the last thirty years, the big pharmaceutical companies have transformed themselves into marketing machines selling dangerous medicines as if they were Coca-Cola or Cadillacs. They pitch drugs with video games and soft cuddly toys for children; promote them in churches and subways, at NASCAR races and state fairs. They've become experts at promoting fear of disease, jus...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published March 18th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Books Ring Mah Bell
Not sure who pisses me off more: the pharmaceutical marketers or the doctors that write prescriptions - because the pharmaceutical reps have given them pens, blow jobs, or large cash bonuses for doing so.

Maybe it's our fault as Americans for wanting a pill to fix everything.

Our system is broken.
Angela
An eye-opening, if not fair and balanced, book.

Unfortunately, too much time has passed since reading this book for me to make any specific comments, but I do remember that it made a lot of accusations against the pharmaceutical companies about how their profit motivation is working at cross purposes to public health. Rather than work on ground-breaking new meds, they slightly alter existing ones to get a fresh patent and a renewed chance at marketing. Pharma money supports "independant research"...more
Valerie
Dec 13, 2008 Valerie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who sees a doctor or takes prescription drugs
I think everyone in America should read this book. If they did, there would be so much outrage about the way drug companies do business that it would absolutely change the way medicine is practiced in this country. I learned from the book that the marketing departments of drug companies invent diseases and syndromes to sell their products. Marketers ghost-write scientific articles and then pay doctors to be the "authors" of them. Drug companies have no qualms about aggressively marketing to chil...more
Shana
When you boil it all down, this book was terrifying. You know all of the food books out that are making people take a second look at what they eat? I think books taking a closer look at drug companies should be the next big thing.

There are so many aspects of this book that terrify me. I’m scared of how doctors are swayed into prescribing drugs for ailments they haven’t been tested for. I’m scared of how medicated kids are. I’m scared about people who drive under the influence of multiple prescri...more
Sarah Jamison
It's been a long, long time since I felt so actively hostile toward a book and its author. I'm not sure why exactly that is. Rather, the reasons for hostility are so many and so varied I don't know if it's possible to sort them out. Mostly, I think that, as a person with a probably greater than average interest in non-pharmaceutical health-maintenance, I expected this book to be somewhat more solution-forward, rather than just a giant horror show of evil people concluding with 19 demands for gov...more
Larry
The subtitle of the book pretty much says it all: "How the pharmaceutical companies transformed themselves into slick marketing machines and hooked the nation on prescription drugs. Peterson is a first rate investigative reporter who carefully researches and backs up all her claims. At a minimum, this book will make you want to demand that pharmaceutical companies stop advertising to the public, something that is only legal in New Zealand and the United States.
Dina Colman
I have a chapter called "Just Say Maybe" in my own book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, about the use of prescription drugs in this country. This is something I am passionate about because too often we turn to medications when we could heal ourselves naturally. For example, exercise in combination with weight loss can reduce the odds of developing diabetes by 58%, nearly double the rate of success of diabetes medication (31%). Every year, over 100,000 Americans...more
Judith
Jun 07, 2008 Judith rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Every adult who is literate
Recommended to Judith by: Bill Moyers on PBS
Everyone should read this book.
Anna
It's much more biased than I like, especially for such an important topic. The first example the author introduces of profit-driven pharmaceuticals is eflornithine/Vaniqa. The author describes how eflorinthine saved African patients from sleeping sickness, until the drug companies pulled it out as it was not profitable enough, and marketed it in the U.S. as a cream for hirsute women, which made them much more money. The book stops there. It doesn't tell me, where the surprisingly and consistentl...more
Yael
The full subtitle of this book is How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves Into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs. A thoroughgoing spoiler, it is no more than accurate.

In Our Daily Meds, the author reveals how corporate salesmanship has trumped science inside the biggest pharmaceutical companies, and, in turn, how this promotion-driven industry has taken over the practice of medicine and is radically changing American life -- and American health...more
Worldbruce
Jul 14, 2010 Worldbruce rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Every American
Read this book, even though it may sicken you.

Not so long ago pharmaceutical companies were noble enterprises dedicated to science, to medical research, to finding cures for disease.

Our Daily Meds is a highly readable chronicle of how drug companies turned themselves into powerful marketers dedicated to persuading you to take their pills every day for the rest of your life, even if those pills don't help you and may kill you. The book carefully documents the industry's shadiest practices, often...more
Kelley
Yesterday, I was scanning a file I keep of books people on discussion lists have mentioned. Scanning the books at the indie book store, I spied a book on my list: Our Daily Meds by Christine Petersen.

I just finished the first couple of chapters and this book is awesome. It's about the way the pharmaceutical industry and physicians end up creating maladies that can be treated with drugs that are not proven to be especially effective -- sometimes depression medication is no more effective than the...more
John Barbour
Create a disease and then market the medicine. It's all about marketing. Marketers - not scientists rule! The first created disease was GERD. It was created by Glaxo along with its solution ranitidine in 1981. By 1988 Zantac (ranitidine) was the biggest selling prescription drug in the world. Melody Peterson in this very interesting book talks about this on pages 134-141 (Chapter 5).

She actually begins the story with the created disease "overactive bladder" and its solution - Detrol which began...more
Rachel
Nov 29, 2008 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This book was really shocking and horrifying, but every American should read it. I was shocked by how unsafe and ineffective medications can be and still recieve FDA approval. I was shocked by the lengths pharmaceutical companies go to to bribe doctors - and that most of what they do is perfectly legal. I was shocked at how the pharmaceutical companies are allowed to have so much influence in medical research that is supposed to be unbiased and objective.
I thought the author made a very convinc...more
Monte
In the period (1980-2003) when Americans doubled what they spent on cars they increased their spending on prescription drugs by 17 times.Big pharmaceutical companies have transformed themselves into marketing machines, selling drugs as they were peddling soft drinks or cars. They sell drugs with video games and soft cuddly toys for children; advertise them in churches, subways, NASCAR races, and state fairs. Americans spent $250 billion in 2005 on prescription drugs more than the combined gross...more
Melissa McClintock
Oh my goodness this is a huge eyeopener! How certain mental health issues like "generalized anxiety disorder" was originated with the drug companies. Many "national depression screening" days are funded by the drug companies but not advertised as such. Explains how it is hard to diagnos true mental illness from fraudulant b/c "tests for wellness" don't exist.

Astia Zenecias "little purple pill" is the same but REPACKAGED Prilosec, and "new" drug nexium.

i was kind of alarmed, i had no idea when vi...more
Ned
I finished this book this weekend, a good airport book. I had started it a couple of weeks ago but didn't feel compelled to finish it because this was something I have been living the last 30 years.

This a book about the corruption of medicine in the US by the pharmaceutical companies. As a pharmacist who owned my own pharmacy during much of that time I personally know that Ms. Petersen is reporting the truth. This is a book that, once you read it, you have to react. Because if it is truth then...more
Kristyn
A must read for all Americans. Not just those on prescription drugs either. Corruption in the drug industries effects our entire society on so many levels. I have always been aware there are serious problems, but Petersen really brings so many of these issues into one reading. The system is broken. Drugs are no longer discovered for out health, only for profit.
She leaves out some of the details that do not add to her arguments, but it is important that people know what is going on. I couldn't h...more
Iowill
If you are already the type who watches and respects reportage ala Bill Moyers, PBS's Frontline, etc., then you'll be in the same groove with Ms. .Peterson.

Well told stories within stories, meticulously researched and well-situated in multiple, localized, national, and global controversies.

Perhaps, someday, a 'war crimes' tribunal will be seated to judge the Pharmaceutical Industry.
So close to Sarafem, so far from God.

And if you know of any elderly people first scribed Detrol and then diagnosed...more
Melody
I thought I was plenty cynical about Big Pharma. Then I read this book and found that my view was rosy and innocent in the extreme.

It's a damning indictment of the current practices of the industry, including making up diseases which don't exist so they can advertise drugs that don't work, suborning doctors at every turn and worse.

My only quibble with the book is there are parts of it which read like a tabloid, vague and alarmist. The vagueness is more than adequately addressed by the notes in...more
Sue Harshbarger
Horrified to learn by 2015 Americans are expected to surrender one dollar of every five dollars they produce to the pharmaceutical industry and the rest of nation's medical system!
Pamela
Awesome book about how corrupt most pharmaceutical companies and doctors have become. Its also eye opening to see how most of the meds they are pushing are not even effective, if not harmful to the people that take them. Very sad. I know that next time I am prescribed any medication, I will think twice about taking it. I will also be looking around the doctor's offices to see how many advertisements from these ridiculous companies I see. FDA approval isn't even a reflection on how safe a medicat...more
Crystal
Well, technically I didn't finish reading this - partly because it is really thick reading, partly because I wanted to read some other things, and partly because I can only get so frustrated about something before I have to change subjects and think about something else.

This is an excellent book, very well written (and cited), about the inherent problems with the pharmaceutical industry. If you think the industry really isn't that bad, I would recommend reading this book for a second opinion. If...more
Abbey
Definitely an eye opener! Surprisingly, this book got me hooked in the first few paragraphs and I didn't put it down til I was done. I was expecting a books about big pharma to actually be interesting and informative.

The facts and stats for a few items are a bit dated, but really, most of that info isn't available until a few years after that time anyway. This book makes you question not only the pharma industry (i.e., making up diseases to sell drugs), but also whether or not your physician is...more
Jackie Bouchard
This is a very eye-opening book, if you know someone who is a pill-popper, you'd be doing them a favor by giving them this book. Reading this, for me, was like "preaching to the choir" as I have severe doubts and suspicions about the pharma industry. Granted, there are some drugs out there that definitely save/transform lives, but there is also a lot of ridiculous waste and, let's face it, it's not in the drug companies' best interest to cure diseases, only to treat the symptoms. Well written an...more
Michael
This was a library book and due to its size I never finished it. Perhaps the most important information I brought away from it was the explanation for why in the past 20 years we've seen a chain drugstore open on every corner and drug departments inside our supermarkets and big box stores. The answer, obvious in hindsight, is the sheer quantity of extremely expensive drugs Americans have begun taking in that time. The author quantifies that and shows how Americans are persuaded to take so many d...more
Ida Rand
This book is great. I love books about how evil the pharmaceutical industry is. I dont' know why, maybe just because i love pills. they are real dicks, like more so than most things that are heavily marketed, like even worse than cigarette companies whose place they took in the advertising world. don't trust your doctor, she/he's pissed that she/he went to school forever and got so smart only to max out at around 300k a year. so once the pharmaceutical companies come courting them with free golf...more
Crbianfool
Fascinating, something that should be read by anyone questioning why Americans use more medication than the rest of the world and yet still have more health problems than the rest of the world. I thought I understood how shady Big Pharma is, but I underestimated them by a long shot. While the individual stories are mainly told in a manner sensationalizing the various events, the overall thrust of the book goes a long way towards explaining the problem of defining illness as well as "normal" heal...more
Barb
I've just started reading this and already my blood is boiling. What lemmings we all are when it comes to takiing prescription drugs. According to the author "Americans spent more on prescription drugs in 2004 than they did on gasoline or fast food." Drug companies create diseases to sell their higher priced but usually repackaged drugs, doctors are wined and dined by pharmaceutical reps and we end up with almost 65% of the people in this country on prescription meds. I can feel my blood pressur...more
Lynne
Disturbing expose of the pharmaceutical industry and the tremendous influence it has over doctors and consumers. The information is valuable and the author makes many valid points, however, she paints all use of prescription drugs with the same broad brush. There is no acknowledgment of the value that some drugs have in helping some people and that there may actually be something positive to say about the development of some medications. While her overall thesis is sound, at times this makes her...more
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