Originally rejected by the London Review of Books, this post details why Ben Goldacre’s ‘Bad Pharma’ plays right into the hands of. ‘Bad Science’ hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science, becoming a , copy bestseller. Now Ben Goldacre puts the . Bad Pharma (4th Estate, ) is my book about the misuse of evidence by the pharmaceutical industry, especially the way that negative trial data goes missing .

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The vital comparison may be made against a placebo Goldacre gives a harrowing account of how such a trial led to children in India dying when there was a perfectly good drug to treat them or against unusually low or abnormally high doses of the drug — to ensure suitable conclusions as to efficacy and the severity of side-effects.

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Bad Pharma: A Manifesto to Fix the Pharmaceutical Industry – Science-Based Medicine

Regulators should have all the data on a drug’s effects but they often don’t share it, so researchers can’t study the data. Goldacre believes in evidence-based medicine: Cheaper by the Dozen.

Roche has refused to share its trail data on Tamiflu. Apparently the pharmaceutical companies spend most of their budget on advertising!

This can cause unnecessary harm, suffering and death. Aside from all this, for several of the most important and enduring problems in medicine, we have no idea what the goldace treatment is, because it’s not in anyone’s financial interest to conduct any trials at all.

Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre – review

After graduating in with a first-class honours degree in medicine from Magdalen College, OxfordGoldacre obtained an MA in philosophy from King’s College Londonthen undertook clinical training at UCL Medical Schoolqualifying as a medical doctor in and as a psychiatrist in The chapters are essentially a quick-and-dirty critical appraisal guide, and Goldacre gives example after example of the spin that can occur.

It’s about facts, some of them quite bsn, particularly if you are unfamiliar with scientific methodolgy.

Rosh, the company manufacturing tamflue held back the needed data. I read Goldacre’s book Bad Science very recently, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to not go for my usual buffer period between very similar books and just jump right into Bad Pharma.

As we saw in Ben Goldacre’s previous book, Bad Science, alternative medicine is guilty of these same crimes and more, not to mention that the pharmaceutical industry owns most of the alternative medicine companies anyway.


Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. In medicine, we rely on summaries of evidence, we collate the results from many different trials. Some of this is done in such a way that it is not very obvious, such as celebrities dropping names and hints.

Goldacre’s point-of-view and voice is warm, empathetic, and realistic without being discouraging Almost essential, this book prescribes goldaxre mode of relief not only for the pharmaceutical industr[ies], but for many high-level corporations which have problems with public promotion vs.

EU register kept secret.

Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre – review | Books | The Guardian

One thing that I did appreciate was, during his section on bad trials, he mentioned outright fraud, one area where I felt was overlooked in Bad Science. He addresses the issue of medicalization of certain conditions or, as he argues, of personhoodwhereby pharmaceutical companies “widen the boundaries of diagnosis” before offering solutions.

For example, to compare two statins, atorvastatin and simvastatindoctors would randomly assign patients to one or the other. Quotes from Bad Pharma: Oh, as an aside, the book is lovingly designed like a pill packet, Braille and everything. It’s not that our medicine is controlled by mind-bending lizard-alien-conspiracies but that it’s simply an effect of a system full of idiosyncrasies and goleacre people, with all their failures.

These are tales of secrecy, dishonesty, bribery and corruption that make for a compelling read, couched in goldacrs reminiscent of scandalous revelations in the tabloid press. The first sentence in the book is exactly such a mindless attention grabber: Ben Goldacre’s book, Bad Pharma: Information is held from regulators.

Ben Goldacre takes us through the life cycle of drug development, from development to testing to trials to marketing revealing the ways drug companies conceal data that shows their drugs in a bad light, how they develop replicas of other drugs rather than new ones to treat new conditions, how they tweak their existing drugs to keep them in patent and therefore maintain profits and how they corrupt the health care sector in their interests, not the interests of patients or public health.

View all 5 comments. Whereas other antidepressants lower libido, this drug “may enhance” sexual arousal. Drugs in trials on patients should be compared to the current best treatment of the condition, and not to placebos. In chapter five Goldacre suggests using the General Practice Research Database in the UK, which contains the anonymized records of several million patients, to conduct randomized trials to determine the most effective of competing treatments.


It proves difficult even for regulatory authorities and official advisory bodies, such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, to unearth unfavourable data from company-sponsored trials. Unlike many polemics Goldacre’s solutions are well thought out and mostly doable mostly! Powerful voices, such as BMJ ‘s editor Fiona Godlee, are supporting the need for all trials data, not only collated and processed summaries, on currently used drugs to be available publicly, and it will surely not be long before this happens.

Had to add a new shelf — demagoguery — for this one. The shift to outsourcing raises issues about data integrity, regulatory oversight, language difficulties, the meaning of informed consent among a much poorer population, the standards of clinical care, the extent to which corruption may be regarded as routine in certain countries, and the ethical problem of raising a population’s expectations for drugs that most of that population cannot afford.

GlaxoSmithKline has already signed up to it, so that is an important victory in sight. They started working to fix this.

His british humour often saves you from more serious depressions and he helpfully gives lots of ideas how the system could be fixed. Other pharmaceutical companies have been fined for similar misdemeanours. The historian Lisa Jardinewho was suffering from breast cancer, told the Guardian that she had been approached by a PR firm working for the company.

There is evidence that companies spend much more on marketing than they do on research and development in America So ultimately this book is for the brave and interested, I think most people in this day and age have a fair amount of cynicism towards the pharma industry in general so specifics may not have as much appeal as Bad Science had in dissolving our eager beliefs in hackery. They also can choose not to publish studies.

Still, despite these issues it’s still a worthwhile read. In the trials they looked at, industry-funded trials were 20 times more likely to produce results that favoured the drug.