by Greg Critser
published by Houghton Mifflin
© 2005 by Greg Critser
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From Publishers Weekly
According to Critser, almost half of all Americans use a prescription
drug daily; one in six take three or more. What are the possible consequences
of the staggering recent growth in the use of such drugs? Journalist
Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World) lays
out the cautionary facts in exquisite detail. The saga of big pharma
gives new meaning to the term "slippery slope": none of it
could have happened, he says, absent Reaganite deregulatory fervor,
which led to the taking of several bold risks, most of which were perceived
in the 1980s, even by drug makers, to be "downright dangerous"—including
direct-to-consumer promotion (DTC) and the advent of off-label marketing—drug
manufacturers encouraging doctors to prescribe medications for maladies
for which the FDA has not approved their use. Some of this territory
about our growing dependence on prescription drugs and the impact of
DTC advertising was covered last year by Marcia Angell and others, yet
it's a story worth heeding again in the wake of the recent furor over
Vioxx. Critser's account is solid, thorough and told with vigor.
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