Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Truth about the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do about It” as Want to Read:
The Truth about the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do about It
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Truth about the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do about It

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  721 ratings  ·  79 reviews
During her two decades at The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell had a front-row seat on the appalling spectacle of the pharmaceutical industry. She watched drug companies stray from their original mission of discovering and manufacturing useful drugs and instead become vast marketing machines with unprecedented control over their own fortunes. She saw them ...more
Paperback, 319 pages
Published August 9th 2005 by Random House Trade (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Truth about the Drug Companies, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Truth about the Drug Companies

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Dec 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, science
[image error]
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all

It’s pretty easy to imagine the millions of dollars pharma companies spend on the advertisements we watch on television, hear on the radio, see on the Internet, in magazines, newspapers, and so forth. However, some of the advertisements, referred to as stealth ads, are harder to recognize; infomercials can fool consumers by resembling newscasts rather than commercials (Ange
Aug 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is indispensable. Exposes the lies that the big pharmaceutical companies hide behind and use to justify the ridiculously overpriced drugs they are selling and gouging consumers. The best aspect of this book is that it dispels the myth that drugs are so expensive because of the costly R&D associated with creating brand new lifesaving drugs. The truth is that the most expensive and speculative research is done at the university level, which you've already paid for with your tax dolla ...more
Mohamed Al
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: أخرى
عندما أقرأ كتبًا كهذه- لا تتوفر لها ترجمة عربية .. أتأكد أكثر بأن الطريق أمامنا نحو فهم العالم لا يزالا طويلاً!

يسلط هذا الكتاب الضوء على ممارسات شركات الأدوية غير الأخلاقية، والمدفوعة بالجشع والرغبة في مضاعفة أرباحها، في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية. كمية المعلومات الصادمة والفاضحة في هذا الكتاب كفيلة بأن يشيب لها شعر الرأس. ورغم أن الكتاب يتاول مشكلة أمريكية خالصة، إلا أن ما يحصل هناك، لا بد وأن يكون له -بطريقة أو بأخرى- نتائج هنا!
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
An indispensable book for anyone interested in healthcare reform. Everyone complains about affordable health insurance, but no one asks why health costs are so high in the first place. After 20+ years on the editorial staff of the New England Journal of Medicine, Marcia Angell became fed up with the obvious unethical practices of Big Pharma. She presents a well-researched and extremely thorough look at how Big Pharma is draining Americans dry. Although the book does get a bit repetitive, it was ...more
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I found this book fascinating, written by a very credible author who has had decades of experience with the industry. I have the entire book paperclipped to mark pages to refer to for later reference. This book is incredibly eye-opening, and in places, jaw dropping about how corrupt big pharma is and the lengths they go to to use the mass population as their guinea pigs. i would recommend this book to anyone concerned about what is going on in the medical field or with the pharmaceutical industr ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Big Pharma "is taking us for a ride," Angell contends. "And there will be no real reform without an aroused and determined public to make it happen." This expose may arouse readers, but will it help the larger cause? Critics agree that Angell's passionate, well-researched indictment of the industry's practice raises important questions. The lack of new insight doesn't diminish its power, but some critics who applaud Angell's suggested reforms also see them as unrealistic. Only Dr. Miller of The

James Perkins
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nobody who reads this book will want to take a pill ever again. Dr Angell exposes the modern legal drugs trade for what it is, so deeply rooted in profit lust and political corruption, it's got nothing to do with curing disease and everything to do with making truckloads of money. Drug companies cry poor, yet they charge exorbitant prices for their products, drag out their patent rights as long as possible, and prevent the medicine being distributed more cheaply in poorer countries that desperat ...more
Chris Demer
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: expose
This book by a doctor and former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine is a serious indictment of the pharmaceutical industry, particularly as it operates in the US. Although I was aware of much of the information, she lays it all out with detailed documentation.

While most basic research is conducted by the NIH and/or universities, drug companies continue to excuse their exorbitant price-gouging on the costs of "research and development". While their big expenditures are actually direct
Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Dr. Angell is angry at the big pharmaceutical companies, or at least was when she wrote this in 2004. As such, she perhaps overreaches at times during the course of this indictment against big pharma and the American way of dealing with prescription medicines. You come across the word "reportedly," meaning, "I haven't been able to confirm this, but other people say it's true." And, "I strongly suspect," meaning, "I have every reason to believe this is true, but I can't prove it, and it probably ...more
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, health
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: citizens
Angell writes clearly about a very difficult and multifaceted subject. Her points are well documented, and her criticism is pragmatic while her principles remain earnest. Her sardonic wit is never too far away.

I haven't read non-fiction this good in a while. I picked up the book as part of my blogging activities for background research; but now I would say this book has empowered me and given me a greater understanding on how the world works.
Angell does a good job of showing what rats the pharmaceutical industry are in this book. I consider big Pharma on a level of evil close to that of big banks and big oil, big food and big chemical corporations so if this book has a fault its that she is too easy on them. Never the less she gets a lot out about some of what they are pulling.
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and disturbing the extent that people will go for money. We either need to improve our ethical maturity as a race or make changes to our government to regulate this kind of behavior (i.e. manipulating the system to take billions of dollars from people for a product that isn't substantially better than what already exists).
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Clear and cogent explanation of pharmaceutical industry and the crucial roles that industry-friendly legislation has played in creating the billion-dollar behemoth. It was updated 9 years ago, but a new addition would be helpful.
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book but I will be brief in my review. Not that this book doesn't deserve a lot of credit for exposing the greed and treachery of the pharmaceutical companies but this book was published in 2004. I am hopeful that much has changed in that time period and thus feel that it would be unfair to lambast the current state of the industry. Not that I'm optimistic that anything has changed. In truth, I feel that the industry has probably become more greedy and devoid of ethics. Thi ...more
Sherry Sharpnack
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was such an upsetting book for me, as I have a PharmD degree and spent 19 years working in retail pharmacies. I agree w/ every word of it. Dr. Angel is a former editor of the "New England Journal of Medicine" so was uniquely positioned to write this book. The only problem w/ the book is that I just finished reading it, but it was written in 2004. The Medicare Part D Act had just been passed but not implemented yet, and of course, the ACA was far in the future. Both Acts just played into the ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting commentary, albeit dated, on the US pharmaceutical industry. However, evidence against the industry is somewhat repetitive, does not fully take into account the capitalistic nature of the society, and offers limited to no solutions on how to practically reform the system, but rather a brief suggestion on an ideal solution. This is one of the most complex industries, complicated by conflicting stakeholders including patients, society, investors, regulators, politicians, etc. A co ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
You can clearly sense on which side the author is on. She's on the right side, of course, but it would be nice to not be so obvious.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dry, not accurate and just could not finish...Yuck
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
realize the dark side of the industry
Charlene Smith
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
After reading this book I am tempted to say, "I would rather die than have another prescription drug," ahem,
one just might.
But why don't you ponder these facts from the book: "The authors obtained FDA (Federal Drug Administration) reviews of every placebo(sugar-coated pill)-controlled clinical trial submitted for initial approval of the six most widely used antidepressant drugs approved between 1987 and 1999 - Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa. Serzone and Effexor (all but the last two are SSRIs)..
May 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Gregory by: Someone for Jump Trading
This was an interesting read. I think her most valid points are the industries high profits and over participation in clinical trials. Since I am sure that no one is bothering to criticize the book I will focus on what I didn't like about it.

First the beginning chapters felt very repetitive to me. This was made worse by the fact every was support by essential a single data point (2002 financial data). I think it would have been much better if these chapters were condensed in a small peer reviewe
Gil Bradshaw
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm about halfway through it and it's informative. However, her rhetoric is so inflammatory and critical that it makes me doubt her credibility and political agenda. She is clearly biased against pharmaceutical companies.

Angell states that many for-profit drug companies are receiving federal research funding of some sort. Her view is that if taxpayers fund the research then private companies should not be able to profit from the resulting drugs which come to market. Her argument is that many peo
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it

Farmacevtskih podjetij ne zanimajo ljudje z nenavadnimi boleznimi, saj je v teh primerih trg majhen.

Če podjetja ugotovijo, da zdravila ne prinašajo dobička, jih enostavno nehajo proizvajati.

"Celo ekipa New York Yankees včasih izgubi in znano je, da včasih izgubi tudi ekipa Los Angeles Lakers. Toda obstaja organizacija, ki nikdar ne izgubi, in ta organizacija ima za sabo na stotine zmag in nobenega poraza v kongresu Združenih držav. In to je farmacevtska industrija."

Velika farmacija pomaga povsod
Laura (Kyahgirl)
Hmm, what to say. My husband and I watched a documentary recently about the prescription drug industry in Canada. Marcia Angell was one of the experts they interviewed and I wanted to read more of her opinions. Of course, this book is very USA-centered because that is where Dr. Angell lives, works, and 'experiences' the prescription drug industry.

Anyway, the book if full of eye-opening information about the way the drug companies wriggle around a lot of laws, not only FDA types laws but the 'la
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
Bought this a few years ago but never got around to reading it, so its a bit outdated already. Despite that, the main message (see the book's title) still rings true today. Some of the changes she called for are happening - decreased drug rep presence in teaching hospitals for example - but most have not. The companies have an even more desparate air now than just a few years ago - even fewer truly innovative new drugs, even more me-too drugs, continued reliance on academia (and smaller foreign ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Eye-opening and compelling reading. I'd have given this book five stars, except for three things: (1) I'd like to read an updated edition, since this was written nearly a decade ago, (2) Angell's stubborn refusal to capitalize "Big Pharma" throughout the book, and (3) there's one assertion that the author makes that I just can't get behind.

I acknowledge that I'm not a doctor, but as an educated medical consumer, I don't buy the idea that individual differences are meaningless and there's no use
May 15, 2009 rated it it was ok

I have to say that I wasn't overly impressed by this. It left me feeling vaguely like I'd heard it all before, which I have, really. There was no real, startling new information that one couldn't find out from Sicko. It was a comprehensive, academic discussion of the situation and what could be done to fix it.

I felt almost completely neutral about the book. I wasn't in any rush to finish it, but it wasn't bad enough to turn off either.

It was really mostly
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, medicine
Livro escrito por uma das pessoas que antigamente era responsável pela publicação de artigos cientificos numa das mais conceituadas revistas médicas.
Uma critica á Industria Farmaceutica, que apesar de focar essencialmente o problema de saúde americano, deve ser lida por todos para um melhor esclarecimento de como essa Industria funciona.É uma chamada de atenção importante para uma realidade nossa também, pois apesar de estarmos algo protegidos com o controlo de preços somos confrontados com a p
Sep 18, 2015 rated it liked it
I would have given this 5 stars had I read it when it was published way back in 2004. By 2015 I had already read books like it, so the information was old news, however that is ONLY a testament to timing.
The strengths in this book is that IT WAS published before this subject matter exploded, and one of the better ones that the includes many the dirty details in a more specific manner that other leave out. Another strength of this book is the credibility of the author, as opposed to some with les
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies are Turning Us All into Patients
  • Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves Into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs
  • White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine
  • The Crazy Makers
  • Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills
  • The Hundred-Year Lie: How Food and Medicine Are Destroying Your Health
  • Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine
  • Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much
  • In the Name of Science: A History of Secret Programs, Medical Research, and Human Experimentation
  • ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine: A Food Lover's Road Map to Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Getting Really Healthy
  • Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer
  • Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health
  • How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America
  • The Killers Within: The Deadly Rise Of Drug-Resistant Bacteria
  • Economyths: 11 Ways Economics Gets it Wrong
  • Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century
  • It Ain't Necessarily So: The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions
  • Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine
Marcia Angell, M. D., is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She stepped down as Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine on June 30, 2000. A graduate of Boston University School of Medicine, she trained in both internal medicine and anatomic pathology and is a board-certified pathologist. She joined the editorial staff of the New England J ...more