I first heard of the author +Ben Goldacre a number of years ago at university, when I was doing some research on some natural remedies for a module, and a lecturer recommended I look at the Bad Science website for some information. No one enjoys a myth buster as much as me, and after reading through www.badscience.net I became a fan of his work. I have since read his Bad Science book, which was very interesting, and have recently finished the BadPharma book – which was very eye opening!
“Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques which are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favor the manufacturer…”
(Ben Goldacre) has a very strong background in medicine, and I would consider him one of the most reliable sources for information on the workings of the pharmaceutical industry. He seems to have dedicated his career exposing the problems with the way medicine is currently prescribed and manufactured, and he is currently campaigning to get all clinical trials published and available to health professionals. This is largely the subject of this book.
Value to intended audience
This book is really for anyone with an interest in medicine or pharmaceuticals, and is written in an informal way, which makes reading it very easy. It is perhaps more suited for people in the pharmaceutical or health industry, and I think health professionals would have more to take away from the book than anyone else, but the information in the book is very relevant for everyone. Although this information is very valuable to me and most people, I’m not really sure what people (other than doctors) can do with it.
Ease of read
The way in which the book is written is great and makes reading very easy, however, the density of information is mind blowing, and all the facts are difficult to absorb if you read a chapter or two at once. I once heard that Ben Goldacres’ lectures are like ‘being skull f*cked by his data c*ck’, and reading this book is no different. BadPharma is easy to read, but for me, it was best to read it in short bursts so I could remember and process everything I read.
Quality/ relevance of information
Ben Goldacre has had first had experience on this topic, and much of what is in the book is his own research and findings. Ben Goldacre seems to have been very thorough with every part of this book, and payed great attention to detail, and I found all the information well explained, detailed, and of a high quality. The information is also very relevant to today and the problems outlined in this book are still problems today.
Image courtesy of diethylstilbestrol