I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year, having found some time to relax. I’m sure, like me, many of you are heading back to school with mock exams looming (best of luck!!). As working for these exams has taken up far too much of my time recently and has been a stressful experience, I decided it was time to sit down with a good book and relax.
I picked up ‘Bad Pharma’ by Ben Goldacre (I will leave a link below), which has been sitting on my shelf since November, but I just didn’t have the time to start. I purchased it after a series of interesting biology discussion group (BDG) sessions, where we touched lightly on the profits pharmaceutical companies make and the incentives of drug companies, whilst discussing genetic modification and cryogenics ( the podcasts of which are also linked below). It is a book based on ‘how medicine is broken, and how we can fix it’ which highlights important flaws in current systems, particularly pharmaceutical companies, and how these can be mended. It is the book which prompted the question, ‘why aren’t all trial results publicly available?’ and a read I would recommend to anyone interested in medicine.
I plan to share my thoughts on what I’ve read, in stages, with you, and what I’ve learnt about the medical and pharmaceutical industries from this book. I feel like it will become something I feel passionately about, as the evidence medicine is based upon, becomes increasingly apparently flawed. The book itself is split into clear sections, with what can be described as ‘case study’ examples integrated along the way. The sections highlight the issues with missing data, where new drugs come from, bad regulators, bad trials, bigger simpler trials and marketing, alongside presenting ideas on how to improve and ‘fix’ these issues – from both the perspective of a patient and a doctor.
While so far I have only read the introduction, I’m really excited to delve further into the issues within modern medicine and our current system. To me, when people’s ill heath has become a business which can provide profit, many people have lost or disregarded the humanity of those patients. I think it is important we all help to find it again.
Bad Pharma – Ben Goldacre – click here
BDG podcasts – click here