Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs

by Stephen Fried (Author)

Editorial Reviews

Bitter Pills started as a magazine story, inspired by Stephen Fried's wife's
frightening reaction to an antibiotic. After he won a National Magazine Award
for that article, he expanded his investigation into this book. What he has
uncovered is astounding, starting with the fact that, in the U.S. alone, between
45,000 and 200,000 people die annually of reactions to legal drugs (2 to 9
percent of the 2.3 million Americans who die each year) versus the 5,000 to
10,000 who die of illegal drug use. As Fried compulsively investigates what
happened to his wife and how reactions like hers were considered statistically
insignificant by drug companies and the FDA, he learns things most of us don't
want to know about the mechanisms that cause pills to land on pharmacy shelves.
Chances are, after reading Bitter Pills, you'll be much more careful about
accepting prescriptions for new medications.

From Publishers Weekly
Five years ago, Fried's wife, after taking an antibiotic for a minor urinary
tract infection, developed such side effects as delirium, visual distortions and
insomnia, followed by a debilitating manic-depressive illness that the
prescription drug apparently triggered. This report on the often lethal hazards
of over-the-counter and prescription medications intertwines Fried's personal
story of coping with his wife's condition and an informal, scattershot probe
into the drug development and approval process, based on interviews with
doctors, FDA officials, consumer advocates, neuroscientists, pharmaceutical
executives and sales reps, lawyers and pharmacologists. By turns tedious and
revealing, his labyrinthine investigation is sprinkled with useful suggestions
for revamping U.S. drug testing and regulatory procedures. Freelance writer
Fried includes cases involving adverse reactions to heart medicines,
anti-inflammatory and psychiatric drugs, skin creams, anti-asthmatics and AIDS
medications. He highlights the laxity of safety standards regarding the
prescribing of drugs for children and pregnant women. An appendix offers
guidelines for consumers on assessing potential drug dangers, and dealing with
doctors and pharmacists.

Product Details

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Bantam; Bantam Trade Pbk. Ed edition (May 4, 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 055337852X



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