From Publishers Weekly
According to Critser, almost half of all Americans use a prescription drug daily; one in six take three or more. What are the possible consequences of the staggering recent growth in the use of such drugs? Journalist Critser (Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World
) lays out the cautionary facts in exquisite detail. The saga of big pharma gives new meaning to the term "slippery slope": none of it could have happened, he says, absent Reaganite deregulatory fervor, which led to the taking of several bold risks, most of which were perceived in the 1980s, even by drug makers, to be "downright dangerous"—including direct-to-consumer promotion (DTC) and the advent of off-label marketing—drug manufacturers encouraging doctors to prescribe medications for maladies for which the FDA has not approved their use. Some of this territory about our growing dependence on prescription drugs and the impact of DTC advertising was covered last year by Marcia Angell and others, yet it's a story worth heeding again in the wake of the recent furor over Vioxx. Critser's account is solid, thorough and told with vigor.
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Critics were enthralledand disturbedby Critsers muckraking portrait of the pharmaceutical industry and the overmedicated public it purports to serve. The book is sure to make people think twice the next time they reach into their medicine cabinet. Critser presents compelling evidence that drugs are not adequately tested before they hit the market and that drug companies seem to be inventing ailments that their pills can cure. But the book is not just a big-business exposé. Critser also explores the societal pressures that lead Americans of all ages to turn to pills to fulfill the burdensome expectations they place on themselves. And he uses gentle humor to avoid coming off as excessively alarmist.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.