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Code Blue: Inside America's Medical Industrial Complex

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  31 reviews
"Code Blue" is the phrase customarily announced over hospital public address systems to alert staff to an urgent medical emergency requiring immediate attention. How has the United States, with more resources than any nation, developed a healthcare system that delivers much poorer results, at near double the cost of any other developed country--such that legendary seer ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published May 1st 2019)
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Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Everything you should know about the Medical Industrial Complex in the United States in one riveting book! As a physician, former hospital administrator and former pharmaceutical executive, author Mike Magee takes us into the corporate world of one of the most complicated and costly industries in the US. This book dives into the history, context, back story, key players, legislation, competition and collusion that have shaped the nation’s present-day health care industry. Although there is quite ...more
Dan Connors
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
As one who has luckily avoided the medical industrial complex for the most part, I still wonder how we got where we are with American health care, and why it's considered one of the worst systems in the world while also being the most expensive.

Dr. Magee is an expert in his field, and he showcases his experience at Pfizer during the Viagra gold rush. If you've been paying attention the past 20 years, you will recognize the names and changes that have made our system both dysfunctional and excell
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book explains the history of the medical agencies, organizations and associations, governmental, for-profit and nonprofit that have exerted influence to create the healthcare system we have today. The roles of the three most powerful sources of influence, hospitals, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are described at length. The author, as a medical doctor who has worked for Pfizer and universities and hospitals, has the experience and inside information that gives this accoun ...more
Becky Loader
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Magee pulls no punches in his well-documented book on the health industry. It is depressing, though.
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
West Hartford Public Library is offering an online event with Dr. Magee to discuss Code Blue. I registered for the event and was also able to borrow the audiobook from my awesome library.

Code Blue is a deep look into the medical industry in America. The history of our health care and comparisons to other nations are presented. There's also an uncovering of practices in hospitals, insurance companies, big pharma, lobbyists and politics. It was more than a confirmation of my own skepticism.

I look
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This should be required reading.... not a fun read, but ever so important. It gives the historical context for the major issues in our healthcare system, and probably society in general. The collusion of the medical industrial complex, focus on cure over care, and plain greediness are themes throughout this book. Hopefully single payer and checks on the medical industrial complex can become reality, along with meaningful and safe development and cost containment as our population ages.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Code Blue by Dr. Mike Magee takes a look at the idea of a Medical Industrial Complex akin to the Military Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower warned of. This complex is made up of Hosptials, insurers, pharmacists, professional medical organizations, and government entities including but not limited to the FDA, NIH and members of congress. This group has shaped and destroyed American health care by putting profits ahead of practice, disease research ahead of managed health and a pursuit ...more
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As an exposé, Code Blue is at times interesting but also somewhat disorganized and repetitive. My big gripe is that discussion of solutions to our medical system's problems is smashed into a tiny chapter at the end, where Magee spews out tons of massive changes that he is in support of but doesn't give thoughtful explanation about the viability or the pros and cons of any of them. If you want to learn about this topic, there are better books out there. ...more
Bob H
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A detailed, and damning, look at what Dr. Magee calls the Medical-Industrial Complex, the manufacturing, marketing and lobbying groups that, through the 20th Century and into the 21st, made American medicine into the expensive monster that it is today, albeit delivering lower life expectancy than much of the developed world. We learn, indeed, that it is a drag on American prosperity, "the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness" with its expenses and cost-ineffectivity.

There's more, howeve
Ed Bernard
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A comprehensive indictment of the American system of health care by someone who should know — McGee has been a working physician AND an executive of a large pharma company (Pfizer) so he knows a couple of sides of this convoluted, deeply screwed up narrative personally. He skewers what he calls the Medical Industrial Complex thoroughly — its history, the self-serving and shameful conduct of the AMA, the unholy alliance between researchers and drug companies, all of it. Here are two random facts ...more
Julie Stielstra
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health-medicine
Pretty much everyone agrees the American healthcare system (if you can even call it that) is broken. Badly broken. Mike Magee is here to tell you how it got that way, and it's worse than you imagined. Decade upon decade of collusion (yes! collusion!), connivance, coverups, downright criminal behavior, politicking, horse-trading, lies and more lies are the core ingredients of what Magee calls the Medical-Industrial Complex, the cabal of insurers, pharma executives, trade associations, academic an ...more
Corey Nelson
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2020
Got this book before Covid-19 hit but reading during a world pandemic made it even easier to appreciate the author’s points about how the medical industry complex “MIC”. Four key aspects of the system: hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and government are not helping as they should be (or we think).

The history of each of the MIC components is educational. I appreciated how the book was laid out to show how each is independent in their focus yet deeply intwined in what we h
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Review to follow
Mar 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: healthcare
There are some political books that invoke ire at injustices solely from the content of the book or the information being portrayed while simultaneously giving the air of neutrality or objectiveness (e.g. Dark Money by Jane Meyer). Then there are books like Code Blue, where the content is upsetting and revealing, but the author is upset too and it comes off as vindictive, likely because Mike Magee actually worked for Pfizer for 10 years.

I wanted a book that dove into how American healthcare wor
Apr 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Started out promising, but ultimately disappointed. The chapters on why European nations moved to government-sponsored healthcare for all citizens and why the U.S. did not, were interesting, somewhat thought-provoking enough to hold interest. Similarly, the chapters on how America’s medical community shifted its resources to seeking cures rather than focusing on care were worth reading, along with the rise of the pharmaceutical industry as big business, the tail wagging America’s health care dog ...more
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x-read-in-2019
Is the problem with health care in America caused by its being a profit driven business?
Is healthy business in direct competition with providing health care for all citizens?
“The AMA serves the financial interests of its members, not primarily the health and well-being of the American people.” Does this compromise the quality and cost of health care in our country? These issues and more are covered by a former industry insider and medical doctor. This is an interesting study of the Medical Indus
I was hoping for a view from some inside the MIC and instead I got a detailed history of how we ended up with the medical system that we have. This book could have be written by anyone willing to do the research as everything that is detailed in this book exists in either the historical record or recent media. Much of it will be familiar to anyone who has followed the news over the past few decades.

The thing that disappoints the most is how absent the author is from this work. If he signed non-
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is such an important book looking at an insider's view (from multiple perspectives) of the medical industrial complex. Some may complain or moan that Dr. Magee is selling the medical community or administrators out by telling this story but it needs to be publicly told. In this day and age, when our country, as wealthy as it is, has such awful statistics in the healthcare sector for easily preventable conditions, we need to know these facts. Washington, D.C. politics are too busy vying for ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Without a doubt, this book is essential reading for those wanting a complete picture of America's healthcare system and how it came to be what it is today. Mike Magee's impressive work in this book is borrowed from voracious research and years of experience in the medical industrial complex in a variety of positions.

Somewhat hindering the impact is Magee's sometimes clinical and jargony use of language. The book isn't always as accessible as it could be, and close reading is required for those
Andrew Degruccio
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Giving this 5 stars because it is a must read for anyone who thinks they understand the complexity of the medical industrial complex. I think Dr. Magee covered a lot of ground in just over 300 pages. Sure some glossing over topics and jumping from topics occurs, but that was simply in an obvious attempt at brevity while preserving a complete coverage of the disaster that is American medicine. He gives great guidance on fixing the system. The importance of many of his recommendations may be lost ...more
I had to take breaks from this audiobook at times because it was just so disheartening to see how selfishly, even sociopathically, people have acted throughout history and in recent history as well... But at the same time, I'm glad I stuck it out. It was very illuminating, and even when I disagreed with the author (such as on abortion and the motivations behind Catholic teachings) I respected his views. Everyone needs to know this ugly history and the ugly truth of the present. It's not all ugly ...more
Robert Patterson
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Riveting. Gives an entire overview, historical, contextual, over what Dr Magee who as a former Dr, hospital administrator, Pfizer executive and heath sector veteran dubs the Medical Industrial Complex. Convincing, thorough and engaging in a complex topic.
The insider take on the profits of all sectors over health benefits showcases why the US lags behind developing countries in health outcomes while costing 2x 3x more than other developed countries.

Yvonne S
Important synopsis of the way corporate interests and profits corrupt quality healthcare in the U.S. The author has been a doctor, a hospital executive, an independent journalist, and head of global affairs for Pfizer. He conveys in Code Blue an astute insider's understanding of what's outrageously wrong with our healthcare system and makes a very good case for an urgently needed single payer system. Excellent book; essential reading. ...more
Pamela Wilbur
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Burn it all down.
The book exposes how doctors, drug companies, hospitals, pharmacies, insurers, lawmakers and special interests have colluded over the years to protect their own turf and profits, despite relentless public demand for a system that serves patients instead of entrepreneurs. It's no wonder they've lost respect & credibility. Why are people so corrupt?
David Classing
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A good overview of the US healthcare system and the Medical Industrial Complex. Magee details how and why the US healthcare system is inefficient and how and why the MIC prevents meaningful reform. Magee is a retired urologist who worked for Pfizer; his inside insight offers a unique view of the MIC and its influence. No one in the system is blameless.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anybody involved in the medical field, no matter how deep nor minor, needs to read this book. Incredibly enlightening and well-written with a thoughtful plan on how to improve our faulty healthcare system.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
So many things we want to tell the everyday people!!! Also more than I know myself, as I’m just in the front lines, not pulling strings in the background.
It’s a for profit business... and it’s your life.
Astro Mida
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is what needs to be heard
Jake Sylvestre
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, healthcare
Fairly good introduction to and overview of the rise of the meedical industrial complex in America.
Oct 22, 2019 marked it as to-read
DNF-Chapter 6
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