Please, please, read this book.


I’m going to try to keep this fairly short and to avoid my normal tendency to go for a cocktail of verbosity and nob-gags because I think this is important and I don’t want to undermine my own argument.

Ben Goldacre has written this book: Bad Pharma. If you read “Bad Science” then you know about his insistence on proper, evidence-based medicine. This new book is harder work than Bad Science – it’s a little like going from “The Hobbit” to “The Lord of the Rings”. There’s more about medical statistics and less hilarious mockery of Gillian McKeith. In fact, laughs are few and far between.

I’m not writing a book review though.

This book is important because it is a detailed, lucid account of how the pharmaceutical industry routinely misleads and mistreats patients, doctors, regulators, government and basically everyone for the simple pursuit of profit.

It’s not a hysterical, arm-waving book. It’s not a conspiracy nut’s rantings. It’s careful; well-researched, referenced and argued. In fact, it’s not even an anti-pharma tirade. It’s an argument for doing things in a way that is better for everyone (barring perhaps a few rich shareholders).

It’s important because your wellbeing, or that of someone that you care about, is almost certainly going to be threatened by the actions of big pharma. Not only that but a lot of the money that could be spent on improving or just maintaining the NHS is being funnelled into the coffers of people who are complicit in this routine mistreatment. If you’re reading this from the US, that goes double for your insurance premiums.

Unless people know about this, speak about it, modify their thoughts about big pharma and act upon those thoughts, the situation will continue. This isn’t an easy read but it’s an important one and, if we all make the effort, there’s scope for massive change.

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