We’re right at the beginning of the end of the junk-medical era, stimulated in part by the authors whose work appears below.
If you want to know the effect of junk medicine, it’s cost to you personally and to the health of nations generally, I highly recommend the first two books, by John Abrahamson and Marcia Angel.
One of the reviewers of one of the books listed below wrote, ‘I seriously thought this book would spark much more heated discussion about national health coverage.’
Well it didn’t. He thought wrong didn’t he. Who did he think was going to spark the discussion, the medical profession or the pharmaceutical profession? Duh!
Another reviewer wrote ‘The fundamental question regarding healthcare is: does it promote good health?’ Obviously not. If it did, people would be healthier wouldn’t they. Medical costs would be coming down.
It’s definitely a flawed system and will continue to be while governments continue to raid the public purse to pay for privately generated body system dysfunctions.
And you’d have to ask yourself ‘Why do people keep buying these medical and pharmaceutical products and services if they’re not becoming healthier?’
The strangle hold of the junk medical-pharmaceutical industry (JMPI) power elite is as strong as ever. The emperor is still walking around without his pants on. The foxes are still in charge of the hen house. Researchers in universities and institutes of health depend on pharmaceutical companies for research money.
Who in their right mind would do themselves out of a job by blowing the whistle on the futility of producing yet more junk pharmaceuticals, or stick their head up over the trench and broadcast to the world news about the inefficacy and side effects of some of the most popular, block busting drugs of out time; or jeopardise their next promotion and conference trip by dudding a superior who designed the ineffective drugs in the first place. Easier to keep the head down ready to be patted and plough on.
The 2006 report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reads like an apology for the junk medical-pharmaceutical industry, not a critique. Their opening statement is ‘The health of Australians is getting better.’ They then go on to chronicle how it’s getting worse. It’s a glossy tome. Backs have been patted. All’s quiet on the Western Front.
The books listed below are from America, but the long arm of the JMPI makes for the drawing of interesting parallel’s in countries the world over.
from the publisher
We all know that health care and prescription drug costs are skyrocketing. John Abramson, M.D., an award-winning family doctor on the clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School, reveals how the corporate takeover of clinical research and medical practice is compromising Americans’ health. You—and your doctor—will be stunned by his findings. For twenty years, Dr. Abramson cared for patients of all ages in a small town north of Boston. But increasingly his role as family doctor was undermined as pressure mounted to use the latest drugs and high-tech solutions for nearly every problem. Drawing on his background in statistics and health policy research, he began to investigate the radical changes that were quietly taking place in American medicine.
In what is sure to be one of the most important and eye-opening books you or your doctor will ever read, John Abramson offers conclusive evidence that American medicine has broken its promise to best improve our health and is squandering more than $500 billion each year in the process.
At the heart of the crisis, he found, lies the changed purpose of medical knowledge—from seeking to optimize health to searching for the greatest profits. The lack of transparency that has become normal in commercially sponsored medical research now taints the scientific evidence published in even our most prestigious medical journals. And unlike the recent scandals in other industries that robbed Americans of money and jobs, this one is undermining our health. The hormone replacement debacle, it turns out, is not an isolated case. The same kind of commercial distortion now pervades the information that doctors rely upon to guide the prevention and treatment of common health problems, from heart disease to stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, and osteoarthritis. The good news, as Dr. Abramson explains, is that the real scientific evidence shows that many of the things that you can do to protect and preserve your own health are far more effective than what the drug companies’ top-selling products can do for you—which is why the drug companies work so hard to keep this information under wraps.
The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs
from the publisher
If you believe that the latest blockbuster medication is worth a premium price over your generic brand, or that doctors have access to all the information they need about a drug’s safety and effectiveness each time they write a prescription, Dr. Jerry Avorn has some sobering news. Drawing on more than twenty-five years of patient care, teaching, and research at Harvard Medical School, he shares his first-hand experience of the wide gap in our knowledge of the effectiveness of one medication as compared to another. In Powerful Medicines, he reminds us that every pill we take represents a delicate compromise between the promise of healing, the risk of side effects, and an increasingly daunting price. The stakes on each front grow higher every year as new drugs with impressive power, worrisome side effects, and troubling costs are introduced.
This is a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at issues that affect everyone: our shortage of data comparing the worth of similar drugs for the same condition; alarming lapses in the detection of lethal side effects; the under-use of life-saving medications; lavish marketing campaigns that influence what doctors prescribe; and the resulting upward spiral of costs that places vital drugs beyond the reach of many Americans.
Using clinical case histories taken from his own work as a practitioner, researcher, and advocate, Dr. Avorn demonstrates the impressive power of the well-conceived prescription as well as the debacles that can result when medications are misused. He describes an innovative program that employs the pharmaceutical industry’s own marketing techniques to reduce use of some of the most over prescribed and overpriced products.
Powerful Medicines offers timely and practical advice on how the nation can improve its drug-approval process, and how patients can work with doctors to make sure their prescriptions are safe, effective, and as affordable as possible.
Dr. Avorn asks questions that will interest every consumer: How can a product judged safe by the Food and Drug Administration turn out to have unexpectedly lethal side effects? Why has the nation’s drug bill been growing at nearly 20 percent per year? How can physicians and patients pick the best medication in its class? How do doctors actually make their prescribing decisions, and why do those decisions sometimes go wrong? Why do so many Americans suffer preventable illnesses and deaths that proper drug use could have averted? How can the nation gain control over its escalating drug budget without resorting to rationing or draconian governmental controls?
This is a passionate and provocative call for action as well as a compelling work of clear-headed science.
The $800 Million Pill
The Truth Behind the Cost of New Drugs
from the publisher
Why do life-saving prescription drugs cost so much? Drug companies insist that prices merely reflect the millions they invest in research and development. In this expose, Merrill Goozner contends that American taxpayers are in fact footing the bill twice: once by supporting government funded research and again by paying astronomically high prices for prescription drugs.
Goozner demonstrates that almost all the important and life-saving new drugs of the past quarter-century actually originated from research at taxpayer-funded universities and at the National Institutes of Health. He reports that once the innovative work is over, the pharmaceutical industry often steps in to reap the profit.” “Goozner shows how drug innovation is driven by dedicated scientists intent on finding cures for diseases, not by pharmaceutical firms, whose bottom line often takes precedence over the advance of medicine.
Stories of a university biochemist who spent twenty years searching for a single blood protein that later became the best-selling biotech drug in the world, a government employee who discovered the causes for dozens of crippling genetic disorders, and the Department of Energy-funded research that made the Human Genome Project possible – these accounts illustrate how medical breakthroughs actually take place.”
The $800 Million Pill suggests ways that the government’s role in testing new medicines could be expanded to eliminate the private-sector waste driving up the cost of existing drugs. Pharmaceutical firms should be compelled to refocus their human and financial resources on true medical innovation, Goozner insists.
This book is essential reading for everyone concerned about the politically charged topics of drug pricing, Medicare coverage, national health care, and the role of pharmaceutical companies in developing countries.
Let Them Eat Prozac
The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression
from the publisher
Prozac. Paxil. Zoloft. Turn on your television (in America) and you are likely to see a commercial for one of the many selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on the market. We hear a lot about them, but do we really understand how these drugs work and what risks are involved for anyone who uses them?
Let Them Eat Prozac explores the history of SSRIs—from their early development to their latest marketing campaigns—and the controversies that surround them. Initially, they seemed like wonder drugs for those with mild to moderate depression—patients take just one daily dose, and unlike the tranquilizers that were popular in the 1960s, they supposedly did not lead to addiction.
Healy draws on his own research and expertise to demonstrate the potential hazards associated with these drugs. He intersperses case histories with insider accounts of the research leading to the development and approval of SSRIs as a treatment for depression.
Let Them Eat Prozac clearly demonstrates that the problems go much deeper than a disturbing side-effect of a particular drug. Current FDA regulations encourage drug companies to patent a specific compound and market it effectively to a large population on the basis of minimal effectiveness in a handful of trials.
The pharmaceutical industry would like us to believe that SSRIs can safely treat depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental problems. But as Let Them Eat Prozac reveals, this “cure” may be worse than the disease.
The Big Fix
from the publisher
‘Ask your doctor about …’ Americans and Australians now hear these words coming from their televisions.
In America, ads for prescription drugs are routinely pitched to consumers with images of hope, terror, or chic — and they work. Meanwhile the drugs that many people need in order to stay healthy are increasingly priced out of their reach.
For all their newfound prominence, pharmaceutical companies have begun to find themselves in a precarious position. They have created an impressive array of “mega brands” — blockbuster drugs with huge sales — but when patents expire on those flagship products, sales suffer dramatically. In order to meet Wall Street growth expectations drug companies must produce billions of dollars worth of new revenue – fast.
The best way to do this, they have found, is by charging you more than you can afford for drugs you may not need, by investing in a panoply of product-line extensions and me-too drugs aimed at grabbing market share, and by spending aggressively on flogging their products in every imaginable venue. In gives us the full diagnosis of the industry’s problems and machinations.
How Health Care in America Became Big Business and Bad Medicine
Donald Bartlett and James Steele
from the publisher
The U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation, yet benefits are shrinking and life expectancy here is shorter than in countries that spend significantly less per capita. Meanwhile, HMOs, pharmaceutical companies, and nursing home operators are reaping tremendous profits. Our elected politicians, beholden to insurance and drug companies, enact piecemeal measures while refusing to come to grips with a system on the verge of collapse.
In Critical Condition, Barlett and Steele expose the horror of what health care in America has become, profiling patients and doctors trapped by the system and offering startling personal stories that illuminate what’s gone wrong.
Doctors tell of being second-guessed and undermined by health-care insurers; nurses recount chilling tales of hospital meltdowns; patients explain how they’ve been victimized by a system that is meant to care for them. Drug companies profit by forcing hospitals and doctors to use expensive, brand-name products rather than cheaper generic drugs, while Wall Street rakes in billions from health-care related industries. And politicians pass legislation perpetuating the injustices and outright fraud the system encourages.
Analyzing the industry and offering an insightful prescription for getting it back on the right track, Critical Condition is a superb investigative work that is enormously compelling.
Death By Prescription
The Shocking Truth Behind an Overmedicated Nation
from the publisher
Did you know…
The leading drug problem in the U.S. today is not the use of illegal drugs-it is the use of legal drugs.
The fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. is properly prescribed and administered medication. By adding improperly prescribed medication to that equation, it becomes the third leading cause of death.
There are over 2 million hospital admissions and 180,000 deaths each and every year in the U.S. due solely to adverse drug reactions
When the FDA approves a medication for use by the general public, less than half of the serious drug reactions are known. You-the patient-become the final clinical trial.
If you aren’t aware of these facts, and you don’t have the tools and information to counter them, you are at risk.
Experienced family doctor Ray Strand writes his patients prescriptions every week, but he also believes that prescribing drugs should be a last resort in most medical cases-not a first choice. In Death by Prescription he provides simple guidelines to help readers protect themselves and their families from suffering adverse reactions to prescription medication.
Surviving A Successful Heart Attack
from the publisher
Mike Stone survived his heart attack with flying colors, but surviving the statins was a different matter altogether. This is his story; why he discontinued taking the statins, what convinced him that it was NOT the cholesterol that caused his heart attack, and where he is today, several years later.
Well referenced with an excellent bibliography, “Surviving a Successful Heart Attack”, is not only for other heart attack victims, but for those dedicated professionals in the field of cardiology as well.