Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs
The genesis of this book is a personal experience: five years ago Fried's wife was given a pill--a new, heavily promoted antibiotic--for a minor infection, and six hours later wound up in the emergency room delirious, suffering a seizure, and with long-term neurological effects that have not yet fully worn off. As an investigative journalist, fried began to look into whether she was a victim of a pharmacological foul-up or was simply a statistical casualty in the war against disease. His series of articles on what he learned won the 1994 National Magazine Award for public interest journalism, and was the beginning of his full-scale probe of what he thinks of as "the other drug problem"--legal drugs and the largely unexplored problem of adverse drug reactions. The book investigates the legal drug culture--the international pharmaceutical industry, the FDA and its foreign counterparts, physicians, pharmacologists, researchers, and unwitting patients--and the flawed system, in which money and politics play a significant part, by which drugs are approved, marketed, and dispensed. In the course of his research he became a participant in the FDA's own investigation of the drug that so damaged his wife, has testified before its panels, and believes passionately that Congress' and the drug companies' lobbying to close down the FDA is a danger to every American who is prescribed a drug. An impeccably documented work of responsible muckraking, it is a book of major importance.
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