A new book titled ‘Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients’ by Ben Goldacre has hit stores, exposing the ways that science is distorted by drug companies.
We like to imagine that medicine is based on evidence, and the results of fair tests. In reality, those tests are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors are familiar with the research literature, when in reality much of it is hidden from them by drug companies. We like to imagine that doctors are well-educated, when in reality much of their education is funded by industry. We like to imagine that regulators only let effective drugs onto the market, when in reality they approve hopeless drugs, with data on side effects casually withheld from doctors and patients.
This look at the pharmaceutical industry and it’s effect on medicine is also covered in ‘Pharmadeggon’ by David Healy. He looks at three key issues: product rather than process patents, prescription-only classifications and industry-led drug trials.