Ben Goldacre on 'Bad Pharma'

'Bad Pharma' by Ben Goldacre
Book cover courtesy of publisher

In his latest book "Bad Pharma," Ben Goldacre looks into the pharmaceutical industry practice of not publishing all clinical trial data regarding new drugs. He alleges that regulatory systems and medical journals are also complicit in this "cultural blindspot."

From the Boston Globe review:

Goldacre identifies the overarching problem, first and foremost, as being one of missing data. Data from clinical trials that were never published but demonstrated that many of the medications being promoted as tomorrow's blockbusters were no more effective -- and often less so -- than those already available. Data from post-marketing studies that revealed unexpected side effects from new drugs that had sickened and killed patients, but which companies delayed releasing for as long as they could...

"[E]vidence in medicine is not an abstract academic preoccupation. Evidence is used to make real-world decisions, and when we are fed bad data, we make the wrong decision, inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering, and death, on people just like us," writes Goldacre. And indeed, it is hard to read his exceedingly well-written and extensively researched account of how a lethal combination of greed and ambition, coupled with an absence of scruples, drove so many to conspire to manipulate the science from which biomedical practice derives, without sharing his outrage.

Goldacre will join The Daily Circuit Wednesday, Feb. 20 to discuss his new book.


PhRMA statement on "Bad Pharma"

PhRMA on clinical research and trials

Ben Goldacre: 'It's appalling ... like phone hacking or MPs' expenses' (The Guardian)

The Q&A: The drug industry doesn't work (The Economist)

Ben Goldacre v the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (New Statesman)