Friday, 13 July 2007

Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies are Turning us All into Patients

If you haven't read this book, you must do so with alacrity. This book, one of my favorites, describes how the pharmaceutical industry works.

People tend to think those companies as saviors of humanity: developing drugs for every ill. But that is far from the real story. You see, you'll learn in the book how, decades ago a Merck chief executive named henry Gadsden wanted to sell drugs to everyone. And if you people have observed, his dream has come true today: we have pills for just about everything, from emotional woes to physical vanities.

The book examines the events that lead to the development of drugs for cholesterol, high blood, osteoporosis -- and how drug makers are profiting and continually pushing the drugs to your doctors and to you. The book is easy to read (nothing too technical), well researched and after reading it, you would wonder if the drug you are taking, if any, has any benefit to you and more likely, you'll think of how it benefits a big industry.

I don't recommend people to suddenly throw away their pills. Rather, I suggest that they examine the evidence themselves and see if what they are taking is worth it, for there are drugs that can benefit people with certain conditions. You might want to urge your doctor to read the book (purchase it and lend it to your doctor if you must) and discuss if there are alternative solutions to your existing problems.

This book is a real eye opener and I regularly lend it to my peers who I think might benefit from the knowledge that swallowing pills doesn't always mean you are on the way to becoming healthy. Quite on the contrary, it may be leading them to a deadly spiral of side effects that would mean more medication and even more side effects until death or debt overtakes them.

Selling Sickness's blog can be found here.


*Goddess* said...

What saddens me is that the pharmaceutical biz and some doctors have people so snowballed that a large majority of them doesn't even want to CONSIDER using a healthy, natural alternative.
When I mentioned to my S-I-L about taking St. John's Wort instead of Paxil, she said, "My doctor said never to take St. John's Wort because it has side effects." As IF Paxil doesn't!

Jazon said...

Well, most doctors are not familiar with herbs and natural remedies. They were simply not taught about those in school. So I think it's a doctor's responsibility to study those treatments after school. If the doctor doesn't recommend using non-drug remedies, it's either a) the doctor doesn't know about it or b) the doctor is, as you said, so closely entwined with the pharmaceutical industry.

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