Top positive review
Sins of omission or commission ? Read it and weep again !
27 April 2016
BAD PHARMA (Ben Goldacre)
For any person ( layman , doctor , patient) who is interested in how medicines are discovered/created , evaluated , regulated - but highlighting failures of the current systems – this is a must read (IMHO).
Any drug or medicine has (some) positive effects but also with possible side effects which range from trivial to lethal in some members of the population .
In Bad Science Ben Goldacre exposed the poor scientific evidence behind “ Detox” products/ diets , homeopathy and the like. The promotion of Vitamin C as the cure for Aids ( supported by the then SA Government) is a truly sad tale with lethal consequences.
Here he focuses on traditional and new medicines – the evidence that they work accrued by so-called clinical trials - and the recording of potential ( negative) side effects .
Sadly much of the data is missing ( A classic case of “Accentuate the positive , eliminate the negative – as the song goes) to the detriment of really understanding if new medicines work ( or work better than old ones) and in the failed trials many opportunities and problematic side effects have been ignored .This brings the stories up to ca 2012/3.
I am a retired chemist with some previous experience in new chemical creation and drug development but anyone who can follow simple arguments will be educated ,amused, horrified by Ben’s revelations . There is now a common belief that ANY\THING can be fixed by a pill rather than a healthy lifestyle – SCARY.
Once a “designer” of drugs ( such as it was 40 years ago) I am now on the receiving end of medications for diabetes and atrial fibrillation – what Ben has to say about the development and approval of some of these medications is truly scary. Not so much as to how the data is manipulated but the repressed trials that can result in unwanted side effects being missed. There are case histories here of the deliberate blocking of the release of data ( stand up Roche for the testing results on Tamiflu) to independent academics for true statistical analysis
Required reading for any sane person who wishes to assess company or media claims for products or treatments .