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Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs Paperback – March 3, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0312428259 ISBN-10: 0312428251 Edition: First Edition

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Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs + Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All Into Patients + Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312428251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312428259
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #827,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Drug companies have institutionalized deception, said a former pharmaceutical executive at a 1990 Senate hearing. And former New York Times reporter Petersen details these deceptions with information that will be startling even to those who closely follow the news on big pharma. Her subtitle, How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs, is most effectively illustrated in a chapter detailing Parke-Davis's aggressive marketing of the epilepsy drug Neurontin for everything, in blatant disregard of regulations against promoting drugs for uses not approved by the FDA. Such reporting, rather than style or analysis, is Petersen's strength. Much of what she recounts—such as the glut of copycat drugs like antacids, and marketers' lavish wining and dining of doctors—has been covered in books by others, like Marcia Angell. But Petersen fleshes out these issues and names prominent doctors who, she says, are on the take. She is particularly strong on the ghostwriting of medical journal articles by advertising agencies. She also covers less familiar matters, like the environmental impact of drug residues in water. There are quibbles; for instance, Petersen accepts without examination the bromide that most people take prescription drugs as a quick fix. But she ends with tough, sound suggestions for reforms to make the pharmaceutical industry honest and to protect consumers. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Tough, cogent, and disturbing enough to have a serious impact . . . [A] chilling investigation."--The New York Times

"Petersen draws on her years as a crackerjack business reporter at The New York Times, where her enterprising stories were eagerly awaited by those who follow the drug makers. . . . A fascinating introduction to one of the most powerful industries of our time."--The Washington Post

"Compelling . . . full of . . . eye-opening stories."--BusinessWeek

"Sobering, scrupulously researched . . . We have no choice but to take careful heed."--The Boston Globe


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Customer Reviews

Something that sounds too good to be true....probably is.
Glenda J. Pinkham
"In 1996 ... the drug industry paid for 151,434 dinners, retreats, meetings or other events for America's physicians.
Joseph Haschka
The author of this book has researched her subject throughly and presents the industry in a true light.
Kenneth E. Sain

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Wellesley on April 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
After just finishing this book - as good a piece of investigative journalism as they come - I'm as shocked by the lack of reviews here as I am by seeing the ugly revelation of the "man behind the curtains" true face of Big Pharma.

Petersen has chosen an enormous subject, the debased fall and ugly spectacle of medical scientists and researchers, the entire pharmaceutical industry, and yes, most if not all of our physicians failing in their duties to their patients in order to grab another hundred bucks or so in bribes. I was shocked, angry, enraged and finally repelled by what I read, in that order, but was also grateful to Petersen's compulsively easy-to-read style that allowed me to truly understand what I was reading.

Between this expose, and Gary Taubes' clear and concise outline (in Good Calories, Bad Calories) of how the public has been mislead and lied to about cholesterol, our diets, heart disease and statins - I'm ready to throw 'the book' at the entire complex, hold Senate Hearings, throw people in jail, and start medicine from scratch. Which might not be such a bad idea, because after reading this book I encourage everyone to begin their next annual physical with the words: "And whose payroll are *you* on?"

I recommend this book, and Taubes' book, as REQUIRED READING for anyone who is breathing at the moment - and would like to continue doing so.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Eric Martinez on March 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I lived with a neurologist for 4 years during which time he switched from being a 'consultant' for as many pharmas as he could to being a top VP at a very large pharma in NJ. I have seen all the dinners, the off label discussions, the trips to the virgin island and so on. Your book may shock readers, but its content is very accurate. Thank you for putting the truth out there. I was shocked when I learned what was going on and have since had a very bad view of the pharma industry. I will recommend your book to as many people as I can, especially people with young children who could be taking all these mood altering drugs.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Glenda J. Pinkham on May 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Great writing style making it a hard book to put down. Every medical provider should read this book. As a provider for 15 years I have seen the tactics, I have watched drugs come in as samples and being promoted as some the best thing next to sliced cheese. I went to the dinners where "scientific information" was presented and thought that I wasn't smart enough to understand exactly why the drug was better(frequently, these same drugs were pulled from market). I have seen meds like neurontin being added to my patient med lists for a variety of reasons. Hmm I would think, I just don't read enough. Well, I will continue my wait and see attitude about new drugs. Something that sounds too good to be true....probably is.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Palmer Arnold on April 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This Book should be read by all people who take medications as a daily routine. It tells how people are prescribed the drugs "de jour" for little or no real reason and how these drugs can be extremely harmful particularly when taken with other drugs. I have read most of this in various publications but in this book it is all brought together. This book shows that the pharmautical industry is primarily profit motivated and curing a person is very secondary.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth E. Sain on December 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a pharmacist of over 50 years in practice, I found this book most revealing. Early on I was exposed to "detail men" from pharmaceutical firms. Their purpose was to contact physicians and furnish information about new products. Today, "detail men" are nearly all attractive women, fetching lunch, flowers and overwhelming quantities of drug samples and other inducements. The author of this book has researched her subject throughly and presents the industry in a true light. I would hope that the FDA and members of Congress would all read it and take it seriously.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Joel M. Kauffman on August 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
So you thought you had already heard every possible method of perversion of ethics, morals, and the entire USA economy by Big Pharma? Petersen made an important point near the end (p318) on the value of Big Pharma's drugs: "In 1980 a 65-year-old American woman could be comforted by the fact that her expected life span was longer than that of her contemporaries living almost anywhere else in the world. Now with access to an almost unlimited supply of the pharmaceutical industry's newest and most expensive medicines, an American woman of 65 has lost her place... by 2002, among 30 nations, American women came in 17th." She also wrote that an American man of 65 can expect a shorter life than his Mexican counterpart. This would have been a good place to note that USA life expectancy at birth in 2006 was only 13th in the world at 78 years <[...]> despite the biggest per capita expenditure on health in the world by far.

Even finding information on death by drugs was shown by Petersen to be more difficult because the percent of patients dying in hospitals who are autopsied is down to 8% from 50% in 1945 (p308). Pinning the cause of death on a drug is fraught with danger for the providers, so patients killed by various drugs are said to have a cause of death of their original illness, not the drug used to treat its symptoms!

"Imitating neighborhood grocers, the drugmakers offer coupons, free gifts, and deals to buy six prescriptions and get one free." (p4). Drugs for children are flavored and colored to mimic candy (p4). Plots of TV shows are based on brand name drugs, at times based on suggestions of their makers (p5). Side effects of drugs are treated with other drugs.
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