*Starred Review* According to British journalist Jeffreys' well-documented book, aspirin was born a little more than 100 years ago. That is, the word aspirin
was coined in 1899 as a label for a new product, acetylsalicylic acid, manufactured by the German textile dye and pharmaceutical company Bayer. The concoction had been a known pain and fever reliever for well more than 6,000 years, but it took Bayer, which would eventually lose control of its baby in America for more than 75 years, to create the very first drug that owed its existence to a commercial rather than a scientific or medical ethic. Yes, aspirin was the earliest offspring of the increasingly uncomfortable yet wildly profitable marriage of medicine and commerce. What with Americans knocking back about 80 billion (yes, billion
) 300 mg aspirin tablets a year, to say nothing of even more billions taken throughout the rest of the world, the story of this little white pill makes fascinating reading. Besides the drug's widely known medical applications for pain and fever relief, heart attack and stroke prevention, and more, its colorful history includes drama, pathos, plot twists, humor, intrigue and even a handful of scurrilous and despicable characters. Donna ChavezCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
'Fascinating ... Aspirin appears to be one of the most useful drugs ever discovered. Thanks to the work of all the scientists so deservedly recalled in this books, it is also extremely cheap: in fact no drug is cheaper. Perhaps there is something in the notion of providence after all' Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph 'This biography of aspirin has some cracking factoids' Scotland on Sunday 'An enthralling read ... fascinating ... the author pieces the jigsaw together in thriller style' David O'Donoghue, Sunday Business Post 'He tells a story which blends politics, big business, social and medical history, greed, incredible dedication and human folly in a lively page-turner read' Irish Times
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