Monday, September 7, 2009

Book Review 9

The Truth About the Drug Companies by Marcia Angell, M.D.

This is one of the most powerful books outlining some of the major problems in the pharmaceutical drug industry. It is written in factual, unemotional prose by the former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. As a medical doctor, she supports the appropriate use of pharmaceuticals but is outraged at many unethical practices of the industry including: how extensive marketing is used to deceive people into believing new "me-too" drugs are superior to old ones, how doctors are given kick-backs, lures and bribes to sell drugs, how people are told that drugs are extremely expensive to pay for innovative research and development, and how clinical trials are biased and rigged by the drug companies who support the research.

Although some time in the book is spent on the unnecessary creation of drug markets, unlike other good books on this topic, the author does not allocate much space to side effects and harm many drugs can do, nor the potential for inappropriate drug dependence (especially with psychological drugs) - no conspiracy theories contained! Instead, the book, which is numerically tedious at times, highlights in great detail the outlandish "marketing" costs of industry. The author's point is supported by undeniable cases of corruption directly from within the industry. One of the main points of the book is drugs that work could be sold at a fraction of the cost and the pharmaceutical industry should be re-focused back to finding truly life saving drugs instead of creating and marketing dubious "me-too" drugs.

This issue is now directly important to naturopathic doctors in Canada as British Columbia's ND's have prescribing rights and more provinces will be on board in the future (some States in the US have also granted prescribing writes several years ago).

The Truth About Drug Companies

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