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on March 28, 2013
I THINK MOST OF US CRINGE EVERYTIME WE SEE A COMMERCIAL ON TV ABOUT HOW DRUGS CAN HAVE SO MANY SIDE EFFECTS. THIS BOOK REALLY OPENED MY EYES AS TO HOW MANY DRUGS HAVE BEEN REASSIGNED NEW NAMES AND PERSRIBED FOR NEW TREATMENTS. IT IS SO OBVIOUS THAT DRUG COMPANIES HAVE PROFITS AS THEIR FIRST PRIORITY
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on March 24, 2013
I have always been rather suspicious about all the medication being pushed and this book confirms it. Medicine is a wonderful necessary thing with serious illness but too many people want a pill for any hiccup in their life. I have been telling all my friends about this book and urging them to read it - yes, even my friends who are or have made a very good living as a drug rep.
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One of the most comprehensive presentations of this vital subject ever. Melody Petersen, award winning investigative journalist for the New York Times, has written the most detailed, revelatory history of the modern pharmaceutical industry in our times. Many books prepared us for this one, but this is the distillation of everything before. Prescription drugs are now marketed in every single corner of American society -- from the Cartoon Network to nursing homes to the nightly news.

The detailed presentation of her decade or more of research into the pharmaceutical industry comes through as personal, stirring, intimate narratives about the history and the personal motivations -- of both drug sellers and drug takers -- across the country and around the world. Her childhood in Iowa, and her revisiting her home state as part of her study of the "Pharmaceutical Phenomenon in America" is very impassioned, with the stories of lives changed by medications creating a compelling narrative drive. Highly recommended! It's a book that clinicians and patients with real-life experience in modern American medicine will never forget.

-- Dr. Scott Cuthbert, author of Applied Kinesiology Essentials: The Missing Link in Health Care (2013), and Applied Kinesiology: Clinical Techniques for Lower Body Dysfunctions (2013).
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on September 10, 2012
A must read for anyone who is in the healthcare field, or who may be a healthcare consumer at some point....EVERYONE needs to know what is going on here!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2012
The veil was lifted on the drug industry's antics long ago, but Petersen's book is helpful for encapsulating the role that very clever marketing plays. While the inside information from multiple shamed drug companies is instructive, the book is aggressively one-sided in its critique. Citations are provided to back up the facts, but some of them seem specious. An extrapolated estimation of how many deaths are caused by prescriptions is discussed as if it represents real numbers, not a hypothesis. Claiming that ten percent of dementias have been found to be drug-induced minimizes a very real syndrome and could influence people to throw away their loved ones' drugs that may be helping them stave off a more rapid decline in Alzheimer's. Read this sensationalistic passage: "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...... By 2002, in a list of the longevity in 30 nations, 65-year-old American women came in 17th." OK - since this is journalistic work, why not put where 65-year-old women ranked in 1980? It's "longer than almost anywhere else..." but no numeric location to prove the point. Was it first or second place? 16th? This is spin. I agree that the meds probably have decreased our lifespan, but this writing style makes me doubt the objectivity of the writer.

In the end, Ms. Petersen's passionate calls for regulation to put an end to problems with Big Pharma may rally the troops, but they fall flat. For example, there are already laws in place to prevent kick-backs and to prevent commerce between Medicare providers. The legal industry, no paragon of charity,is primarily interested in pursuing qui tam actions, which are lawsuits on behalf of whistleblowers from which they get a significant cut of the monetary penalty imposed by the government. There's no money to be made enforcing the anti-kickback or Stark laws; these would have to be litigated by the government, and I doubt state and federal governments are eager to start throwing doctors in jail.

When people read this and get worked up about how the evil drug companies are making money, they need to remember that this is what you get when you have a capitalistic system of healthcare. The pharmaceutical companies, doctors, pharmacies, R&D departments of universities, etc. are not simply greedy. They're human. Americans ARE the most over-medicated country on earth, with the most ill effects from our medications, paying the most for healthcare from our collective prosperity; and you may want to step back and ask yourself why.

Was it worthwhile to read? I recommend Marcia Angell's book for a more balanced take on the devices employed by Big Pharma, but I did learn a lot about the marketing. After reading this book, I cast a more critical eye on news programs about the latest and greatest. The other day a perky Jamie Lee Curtis announced from my TV, "If you think a little irregularity is no big deal, think again." I thought - again - Oh no, another pill... but she is shilling for a yogurt company! From reading Our Daily Meds I am savvy to the existence of such ad firms as one called IntraMed, a division of the advertising behemoth WPP, which specialize in developing marketing plans for pharmaceutical companies, in many cases even writing "studies" for medical journals to dupe doctors into thinking the drugs have real science behind them. I give those marketers credit for being brilliant in their schemes; clearly they've found their next golden goose in the supplement industry, which I hope will soon be treated to its own journalistic scrutiny. (Tangent: By the way, Jamie Lee, a little irregularity is not a big deal. Also, why don't you just say "Can't poo"? For years I had no idea what the word irregularity was referring to. Now that I figured it out, may I recommend a diet light on cheeseburgers and high on broccoli.)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2012
After voraciously reading Our Daily Meds and becoming thoroughly disgusted with the entire medical community, I was thus relieved to see in the Epilogue many calls-to-action.
With a Parent on numerous different prescriptions, I am concerned about negative drug interactions; none of them are "lifestyle" drugs, however I wonder how many could be reduced or eliminated with better nutrition, weight loss and exercise.
I would greatly enjoy a follow-up to this book covering the use of non-necessary therapeutic drugs on farm animals and the build-up in humans.
Furthermore, I wonder if there is a correlation between the Pharma Cos, research and the lowering of thresholds of certain illnesses, e.g. cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension. Naaah, purely coincidental, right?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2012
Very informative book. Very well-researched. A great deal of surprising information! I would recommend this book--many would find this interesting!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2011
I've never thought that big pharma was in business out of the kindness of their hearts, but I also didn't realize just how messed up the system was. This was an eye-opening read that has me thinking completely differently about prescription medications.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2011
This book is a great exposé of the pharmaceutical industry and its intricate links with the FDA, medical industries, and physicians in the United States. It is also very sensationalist. While reading it, I was shocked at not only the content but also the lack of references for very bold claims and the single viewpont presented. Don't get me wrong, I am all about pharmaceutical reform, but books such as this are not going to be taken much beyond face value without serious backing and with facts and references.

I also found the prescriptive section at the end to feel like a bit of a tack-on, finishing the book on a weak note with a few far-fetched suggestions tainting the otherwise rightful call for industry reform.
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on September 10, 2010
As a regular conventional psychiatrist, I have to say this is GREAT writing and GREAT research. A book every doctor and every patient should read. (Very very few topics, and certainly not the important ones, where it may be a little inbalanced...)
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