Feb 18 2013

Goldacre reveals a terrifying mess

Dagnabbit. Ben Goldacre is in town, and doing a talk at Town Hall tonight, but I didn’t know about it and now I can’t rearrange things so that I can go. Drat!

Ben Goldacre’s earlier bestseller Bad Science hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science; now Goldacre puts the multibillion-dollar global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope—and reveals a terrifying mess. Doctors and patients need good scientific evidence to make informed decisions, says the author of Bad Pharma, but instead, companies run bad trials on their own drugs, which distort and exaggerate the benefits. When these trials produce unflattering results, the data are simply buried—and all of this is perfectly legal. It’s a world so fractured, Goldacre says, that medics and nurses are educated by the drug industry—and patients are harmed.

Wanna go. Can’t. Phooey.


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  1. 1
    Charles Sullivan

    He gave a talk in Portland yesterday, and I just found out about it today. Damn!

  2. 2
    Ophelia Benson


  3. 3
    Eamon Knight

    He was on the CBC this AM, talking about this topic. I think you can listen to the interview here:

  4. 4
    Ophelia Benson

    Thanks Eamon.

  5. 5

    Sadly I can back him up on this. When I was working my way through school I had two jobs, waitress and pharmacy tech. As a pharm tech we had more access to what trials were being run, mostly due to the department director who liked to keep his eyes on these things as he wanted to get the best options for the best price in order to help keep the hospital solvent. However, once I got my degree and went to work on the patient care side and was required by law to obtain a certain amount of ‘continuing education credits’ to keep my license current I can tell you that 80+% of my CECs came from pharmaceutical sponsored “lunch and learn” or evening classes held at nice restaurants where we would be given a short class on whatever type of drug the were pushing that month. (H2 antagonists, MAIOs, etc) fill out the required paperwork and get a few credits. Due to the long hours, costs of ‘real’ courses, and heavy patient loads this was literally the only way most of us could even hope to keep our license current. Thankfully the hospital I worked at got wise and started offering monthly classes of their own, complete with actual educators instead of industry representatives and that made a huge difference, but I doubt many hospitals would take the initiative to do that, and I KNOW the local medical offices don’t.

  6. 6

    Ben’s talks are fun providing you can listen as fast as he talks :)

    His enthusiasm is infectious, see him if you can.

  1. 7
    Around FtB » Pharyngula

    [...] Ophelia missed Ben Goldacre’s visit to Seattle! I missed him too because he just flew over the middle of the continent and ignored us (Ben’s schedule: he’s in New York next). [...]

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