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Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients is a book by the British physician and academic Ben Goldacre about the pharmaceutical...

Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients is a book by the British physician and academic Ben Goldacre about the pharmaceutical industry, its relationship with the medical profession, and the extent to which it controls academic research into its own products. Goldacre argues in the book that “the whole edifice of medicine is broken”, because the evidence on which it is based is systematically distorted by the pharmaceutical industry. He writes that the industry finances most of the clinical trials into its own products and much of doctors’ continuing education, that clinical trials are often conducted on small groups of unrepresentative bad pharma ben goldacre pdf free download and negative data is routinely withheld, and that apparently independent academic papers may be planned and even ghostwritten by pharmaceutical companies or their contractors, without disclosure.


Describing the situation as a “murderous disaster”, he makes suggestions for action by patients’ groups, physicians, academics and the industry itself. Responding to the book’s publication, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry issued a statement in 2012 arguing that the examples the book offers were historical, that the concerns had been addressed, that the industry is among the most regulated in the world, and that it discloses all data in accordance with international standards. The British House of Commons Public Accounts Committee expressed concern in January 2014 that drug companies were still only publishing around 50 percent of clinical-trial results.

Chapter 2: “Where Do New Drugs Come From? After graduating in 1995 with a first-class honours degree in medicine from Magdalen College, Oxford, Goldacre obtained an MA in philosophy from King’s College London, then undertook clinical training at UCL Medical School, qualifying as a medical doctor in 2000 and as a psychiatrist in 2005. As of 2014 he was Wellcome Research Fellow in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

This unpicked the claims of several forms of alternative medicine, and criticized certain physicians and the media for a lack of critical thinking. It also looked at the MMR vaccine controversy, AIDS denialism, the placebo effect and the misuse of statistics. Goldacre was recognized in June 2013 by Health Service Journal as having done “more than any other single individual to shine a light on how science and research gets distorted by the media, politicians, quacks, PR and the pharmaceutical industry.

Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques which are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favour the manufacturer.

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