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From Publishers Weekly
In what should serve as the Fast Food Nation of the drug industry, Angell,
former editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, presents
a searing indictment of "big pharma" as corrupt and corrupting:
of Congress, through huge campaign contributions; of the FDA, which
is funded in part by the very companies it oversees; and, perhaps most
shocking, of members of the medical profession and its institutions.
Angell delineates how the drug giants, such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca,
pay physicians to prescribe their products with gifts, junkets and marketing
programs disguised as "professional education." According
to Angell, the cost of marketing, both to physicians and consumers,
far outweighs expenditures on research and development, though drug
makers invoke R&D as the reason drug prices are so high. In fact,
says Angell, with combined 2002 profits of $35.9 billion for the Fortune
500's top 10 drug companies, the drug industry is America's most profitable
by far, thanks to disproportionately high prices, generous tax breaks
and manipulation of patents to extend exclusive marketing rights to
blockbuster drugs like Prozac and Claritin. Angell mounts a powerful
case (and offers specific suggestions) for reform of this essential
industry—a case worth bearing in mind as "big pharma"
continues to oppose importing cheaper drugs from Canada.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, 2004, a division of Reed
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