Bad Pharma is actually a fairly scary book to pick up when you’ve just collected a prescription from the chemist but I’d heard a lot about Bad Science (which I’ve since read) and thought Bad Pharma would be incredibly interesting. I certainly wasn’t wrong.
This is pretty much a damaging expose of the pharmaceutical industry’s involvement in modern medicine. Not necessarily their manufacture and distribution of tablets that do improve people’s lives every day but more the unnecessary peddling of drugs that either do very little or are no more effective than drugs already on the market. We’ve all seen the washing powder ads for something ‘new and improved’, only to find out two months later that it’s got one slight miniscule change. How ludicrous would it be if the drug companies did something similar and then got it under patent for 10 years so they could charge incredibly high prices for it? Well, they do.
Delving into issues such as pricing, drug trials, suppression of research and trial reports, Goldacre uncovers how strong the hold over our medication is and calls for changes across the board, citing things that patients, doctors, governments, researchers and the drug companies can do.
I’m sure Goldacre didn’t make any drug rep friends via this book – and I’m quite sure he doesn’t care. It’s refreshing to read something that is so focussed on what’s right, regardless of the waves it makes. That said, having now gone back and read Bad Science, it’s not really a surprise. This is an absolutely fascinating read for anyone who has had any involvement with our health system or ever taken any medication whatsoever. So, that’s pretty much everyone!This review was originally published on Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave