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Old 11-23-2012, 09:27 PM   #26 (permalink)
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You do not want to read about this book, let alone actually read it.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:58 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by KT Kingsley View Post
You do not want to read about this book, let alone actually read it.
Actually, after reading Scott Gravura's review of it in Science Based Medicine, I was going to order it, but it won't be available on Kindle for a few months.

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

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Originally Posted by Scott Gravura
In his discussion of the industry, he foreshadows the thesis of Bad Pharma:

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Originally Posted by Ben Goldacre
Whatever our political leanings, everyone is basically a socialist when it comes to healthcare: we all feel nervous about profit taking any role in the caring professions, but that feeling has nowhere to go. Big pharma is evil: I would agree with that premise. But because people don’t understand exactly how big pharma is evil, their anger and indignation get diverted away from valid criticisms—its role in distorting data, for example, or withholding life-saving AIDS drugs from the developing world —and channelled into infantile fantasies. ‘Big pharma is evil,’ goes the line of reasoning, ‘therefore homeopathy works and the MMR vaccine causes autism.’ This is probably not helpful.
Goldacre’s comment captures the trepidation I had before reading the book. Constructive criticism of the pharmaceutical industry is surprisingly difficult to find. Many critics have a clear bias. Big Pharma is evil…and…that’s where it ends. There’s no acknowledgment of the value medicine offers, or the recognition that industry can do better. Big pharma’s failings are a blunt instrument that drive home an unsophisticated, and demonstrably incorrect, point: Medicine itself is bad. Some critics seem to have given up entirely on improving the system: It’s hopelessly rigged and even corrupt, they argue. Lest you think this is solely the domain of CAM providers or advocates like Joe Mercola or Mike Adams, it’s not hard to find academics, and sometimes even medical doctors, whose pharmaceutical industry criticisms are not driven by a desire for better science, but rather reflect a rejection of it. In short, they become cranks.

Reassuringly, Goldacre doesn’t get into black helicopter, medical-industrial complex, conspiracy theories with crank objections to industry. He’s a practicing physician who acknowledges the benefits of drugs but laments a system which has even compromised his own treatment decisions.
(emphasis mine, to emphasize the point that this book probably isn't supporting your "snake oil" comment, among other things)
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But I cannot take your arguments seriously when you back them up with links to ridiculously bad information. It's not bad because I disagree with it, it's bad because it really is bad. These sites demonstrate zero knowledge of the science they are discussing, they link almost exclusively to other non-information, and when they DO link to an authoritative source, they misrepresent what the source actually says.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:05 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Jahar, most companies that qualify for membership of Big Pharma produce more than one drug. It would be unwise to assume that every drug a company produces is effective because some of the drugs they produce are. And it would be equally unwise to assume the reverse. Which, you appear to be assuming, is what I assume. Your assumption is incorrect.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:51 AM   #29 (permalink)
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You do not want to read about this book, let alone actually read it.
Oh, I've read that. And it makes very interesting reading.

His thoughts on homeopathy made me think a lot, and the parts on clinical trials were extremely revelatory.

There is a lot wrong with the pharmaceutical industry. There's greed, there's corruption. There's the fact that humans are incredibly gullible. There's the aggressive advertising in some countries.

I would like fake pharmaceuticals to be wiped out (by making cheap medicines available where they're needed so the criminals don't rake in profits from selling knock-offs, and by making people aware of the dangers of believing advertising for miracle drugs or of ordering from dodgy sources).

But being a realist, I can't see it happening soon.

To get back to the subject of pharmaceutical crime, though... that's even more depressing than people wanting miracle cures. Because it's the new, favoured terrain for organised crime spanning several countries. The groups involved are smart, they are active in various areas of crime, and budgets for crime-fighting are more and more strained. So they are doing very nicely, thank you, and reaping considerable benefit from the Internet (using and abusing it to advertise, using it to organise their activities, using it for credit card fraud, etc. etc.)

I get pretty negative about the world at times. I guess I should have chosen a career in landscape gardening after all (my grandad was one) rather than lining up words about crime and pharmaceutical regulatory stuff, eh?
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:05 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Informed no...not always , free samples....
There is little point in giving doctors free samples in countries with free or heavily subsidised healthcare anyway.

I think I'm right in saying that in most European countries, doctors do not have the right to dispense anyway, and particularly freebies. I think there are some exceptions in remote areas, a long way from pharmacies, but it requires a special licence and is strictly regulated.

I have no idea what "perks" doctors get from choosing product A over product B. To start with, I would imagine that they would have to prove they have prescribed it to X number of patients (and that data would have to be anonymised anyway, surely?)

In France at least, you get a prescription for product A and the pharmacy gives you the choice of either that, or a generic if it exists, anyway.

(And that is another whole can of worms... including the fact that a whole lot of patients swear that generics "don't work"...).
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:18 AM   #31 (permalink)
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In the rural U.S. the free samples get handed out to patients who would otherwise be too poor to get something like an antibiotic for their one time illness.That saved me the one time I had a bronchitis that was trying to be pneumonia.
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:30 AM   #32 (permalink)
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In the rural U.S. the free samples get handed out to patients who would otherwise be too poor to get something like an antibiotic for their one time illness.That saved me the one time I had a bronchitis that was trying to be pneumonia.
I can really see the point of that in the US, believe me.
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