NatureFirst USA

Big Pharma: Exposing the Global Healthcare Agenda

by Jacky Law (Author)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
The drug business is the most profitable in all of capitalism, journalist Law
notes in this scattershot indictment of the pharmaceutical industry, but what do
consumers get for the money shoveled into it? A dwindling stream of exorbitantly
expensive new drugs, she contends, most of them "me-too" competitors,
patent-prolonging reformulations of existing products or marginally effective
nostrums for diffuse complaints; vast marketing budgets to cajole consumers into
demanding-and doctors into prescribing-unnecessary medications; biased
scientific studies and corrupted or intimidated researchers; a regulatory system
lobbied and suborned into allowing unsafe and ineffective drugs on the market;
and a society that automatically pops a pill for every discontent, real or
imagined. Law offers a comprehensive, if disorganized, rehash of a now familiar
but still timely portrait of drug companies' perfidy and greed, studded with
case studies of firestorms like the Vioxx scandal and the controversy over the
possibly deadly side-effects of anti-depressants. She's on shakier ground when
she dilates her case into a brief against conventional medicine and in favor of
a murky "holistic" regimen of "complementary"-i.e. alternative-therapies that
harmonize with "the body's natural intelligence" and exploit the "untapped
healing power" of the placebo effect. Law's flirtations with fringe conceits
weaken an otherwise serviceable science-based critique of the drug industry.

From Booklist
*Starred Review* British journalist Law deconstructs the relationship between
Big Pharma, on one hand, and medical professionals and patients, on the other,
and declares it unhealthy for everybody, though not financially for a handful of
major international pharmaceutical companies. How can it be healthy when those
companies' annual marketing budgets outstrip the annual budgets of all of the
medical schools in the U.S. combined? How can it be healthy when those companies
pick and choose which clinical tests of new drugs will be made public? How can
it be healthy when the regulating agencies in charge of protecting public health
interests are inexorably tied to the pharmaceutical industry? On the other hand,
who other than those with ties to pharmaceutical companies can decipher the
science-speak of all their reports? And who is to speak for the everyman seeking
relief from the pain of everything from real illness to aging? Law's conclusion
won't be popular, since she lays the burden on doctors to advocate for their
patients, often at the expense of Big Pharma. And while it is some comfort to
know that the U.S. isn't alone in its health care woes, it is still darn little comfort.

Product Details

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (February 26, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786717831



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