For all the benefits they bring, the pharmaceutical industry's biggest companies, headed by Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis and Glaxo SmithKline, increasingly face a conflict between the goals of corporate wealth and public health.
In a broad and independent analysis of the modern healthcare system, Jacky Law shows how a small number of corporations have come to dominate the agenda in Britain and America. She reveals a system in which the relentless pursuit of profit is crowding out the public good. Effective regulators are under intense pressure from corporate lobbies, and companies spend more money on marketing than on research and development. The cost of new drugs rises relentlessly while the number of original new products declines.
Every year we pay more money for our drugs. But just how much healthier are we? And is there any limit to what we will pay? The author reveals a world where market considerations, not medical need, is determining the research agenda. She points to a future where the public and the medical profession could once again have a voice in the kind of healthcare we want -- and the healthcare we pay for.
As a medical herbalist by training I was drawn to this book. It voiced what a number of us had already suspected but laid everything out in a clear, concise and logical fashion, richly illustrated by numerous references, examples and figures.
It makes frightening reading when one fully realises the sums of money that big pharma make from inventing, selling and repackaging old drugs for new uses. Law explains the guts of the pharmaceutical with chilling grimness. The shabby trials, the paid doctors to give creedence to the new drug. The hushed up failed trials, the PR spin and everything else that can turn a worthless chemical into a big cash cow. Big pharma really do have a license to print money.
If you care about the medicines you put into your body, this book is for you; if you want to know how the pharmaceutical industry works, this book is for you; if you want to know how the truth behind the drugs is manipulated and massaged to give it credibility, this book is for you.
Working in the alternative health field, as I do, clearly I do have a bias towards Law's book. Interestingly, a number of my colleagues have now gone out to buy this book for themselves - including a pharmacist friend. This book has generated a lot of interest and I do hope that this book gets the full credit it deserves and the sales to match.
Law has done a superb job of collating all the information and compiled it into an enourmously readable book, one that is well referenced too. It is compulsive reading - even if there is a touch of schadenfreude with every page turned. I cannot thank Law enough for this superb volume. A perfect ten richly deserved.
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