Ben Goldacre publishes “Bad pharma” about industry data issues

Hannah Blake


If you haven’t heard about the British columnist, author of Bad Science and self-called “nerd evangelist” that is Ben Goldacre, then you’ve clearly been living under a rock.

This time, Ben’s back with a new book on the alleged ongoing problems around data transparency within the pharmaceutical industry, and why these problems are not being fixed. He also comments on how drug companies hide data about medication risks that affect children.

Ben describes how he was “misled” into prescribing the antidepressant, reboxetine, to his patients based on insufficient data, because even though research found the drug ineffective, it was still approved in the UK. And although Europe and US have similar drug laws, one tiny loophole means that the US FDA requires all clinical trials data to be registered with the government, whereas in Europe, the manufacturer simply did not have to publish its negative data and the drug was approved.

So, it’s fair to say, this book is going to cause a lot of controversy.

“It describes how drug companies harm patients, around the world, by distorting evidence on an industrial scale. More than that, it shows how doctors, academics, and regulators have all failed to fix these problems. Bad practices have been perpetuated, because the public have not understood the true scale of the disaster. If this book is not ignored, it will make certain current public positions from industry, and from regulators, untenable. That will be the beginning of fixing the problem, and for the rest, I need your help.”

Ben Goldacre’s comments on his new book, posted on his Bad Science website (25th September 2012).

Ben’s new book, “Bad pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients”, goes on sale today in the UK –US readers will have to wait until January to get their hands on it.


 Related news:

The drugs don’t work: a modern medical scandal (The Guardian)

A Doctor’s Dilemma: When Crucial New-Drug Data Is Hidden (TIME magazine)

Reference links:

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