The Truth about the Drug Companies : How They Deceive Us and What to Do about It
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 gain nearly limitless influence over medical research, education, and how doctors do their jobs. She sympathized as the American public, particularly the elderly, struggled and increasingly failed to meet spiraling prescription drug prices. Now, in this bold, hard-hitting new book, Dr. Angell exposes the shocking truth of what the pharmaceutical industry has become-and argues for essential, long-overdue change. Currently Americans spend a staggering $200 billion each year on prescription drugs. As Dr. Angell powerfully demonstrates, claims that high drug prices are necessary to fund research and development are unfounded: The truth is that drug companies funnel the bulk of their resources into the marketing of products of dubious benefit.
In what should serve as the Fast Food Nation of the drug industry, Angell, former editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, presents a searing indictment of "big pharma" as corrupt and corrupting: of Congress, through huge campaign contributions; of the FDA, which is funded in part by the very companies it oversees; and, perhaps most shocking, of members of the medical profession and its institutions. Angell delineates how the drug giants, such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca, pay physicians to prescribe their products with gifts, junkets and marketing programs disguised as "professional education." According to Angell, the cost of marketing, both to physicians and consumers, far outweighs expenditures on research and development, though drug makers invoke R&D as the reason drug prices are so high. In fact, says Angell, with combined 2002 profits of $35.9 billion for the Fortune 500's top 10 drug companies, the drug industry is America's most profitable by far, thanks to disproportionately high prices, generous tax breaks and manipulation of patents to extend exclusive marketing rights to blockbuster drugs like Prozac and Claritin. Angell mounts a powerful case (and offers specific suggestions) for reform of this essential industry a case worth bearing in mind as "big pharma" continues to oppose importing cheaper drugs from Canada. Agent, Martel Agency. (On sale Aug. 24) Forecast: Time called Angell one of the 25 most influential Americans, and with the high cost of drugs making front-page news, her book should find a receptive audience. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Very Interesting
Posted January 03, 2007 by robynw , seattleInsight into the way that the FDA and drug companies work is not something your run across daily - but this book provides a great education to get you thinking about the daily stuff you do see (particularly ads for drug companies). The author probably spends a bit too much time trying to defend her "fair and balanced" view - the only downside. Well worth the read.
August 08, 2005
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