Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine

Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine

John Abramson

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0061344761

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Using the examples of Vioxx, Celebrex, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, and anti-depressants, Overdosed America shows that at the heart of the current crisis in American medicine lies the commercialization of medical knowledge itself.

Drawing on his background in statistics, epidemiology, and health policy, John Abramson, M.D., reveals the ways in which the drug companies have misrepresented statistical evidence, misled doctors, and compromised our health. The good news is that the best scientific evidence shows that reclaiming responsibility for your own health is often far more effective than taking the latest blockbuster drug.

You—and your doctor—will be stunned by this unflinching exposé of American medicine.

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care. Probably the greatest cause for optimism is the Senate Finance Committee hearing called by Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) to investigate whether the FDA and Merck had adequately monitored the safety of Vioxx. Americans were given the opportunity to witness academic researchers and public employees describing how drug companies wield influence and suppress information. Most of the senators on the committee appeared to care deeply about protecting Americans from the unnecessary dangers of potentially

troublesome because we have previously, in an untitled letter, objected to promotional materials for Vioxx that also misrepresented Vioxx’s safety profile.” CAN WE TRUST OUR MOST RESPECTED MEDICAL JOURNALS? Surely authors who are expert enough to have written the “Drug Therapy” review article about Celebrex and Vioxx in the New England Journal of Medicine were aware (or should have been aware) of the manufacturers’ unprocessed data from the VIGOR and CLASS studies—even if the manufacturers

Mrs. Clark’s elderly father moved into the area, I became his doctor as well. As I observed her deft handling of her father’s needs and demands, I began then to get a sense of Mrs. Clark’s unusual competence. She shared with me how difficult her childhood relationship with her father had been. I could see that he still had the potential to be difficult—especially with her. She worked hard to get things right. Her requests of me and my office were reasonable, and she advocated well on behalf of

tell us, but we do know from a review article in the Archives of Internal Medicine that smoking cessation after heart attack is associated with 1.5 to 2 times as much benefit as a defibrillator. The NEJM article reporting the benefits of implanted defibrillators did not venture beyond the interests of the study’s sponsor; there was no mention of exercise, smoking cessation, or other lifestyle changes. While there were no technical violations in Guidant’s defibrillator study, sleight of hand was

‘move the needle’ of consumer perceptions.” Edelman’s report, according to Hensley, suggested that PhRMA could create doubts about the wisdom of saving money by importing drugs if they focused on the “safety and effectiveness” of drugs bought from foreign sources. The PR campaign to raise concern about the safety of imported drugs has succeeded in the short term: included in the Medicare prescription drug bill are provisions that make drug importation cumbersome and therefore unlikely.

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