Bad pharma is good reading

Another book recommendation as I belatedly read books I should have read when they came out.

Bad Pharma is a book health librarians must read (anyone with an interest in how decisions are made on medicines would do well to do so) (wikipedia has a summary for the tl:dr crowd).

During the period I was reading it I ran more than my usual number of critical appraisal sessions and the book was a great source of new examples to call on as I discussed bias, ethics and the niceties of what gets published.  It does cause some issues as the picture of the extensive failings of our publishing system may leave people feeling somewhat deflated (it did me).

The chapters “missing data” and “bad trials” offer the richest source for improving understanding and helpful stories.  The final chapter on marketing is depressing in the extent of the work of drug companies in this area. More money is spent on marketing than research. Medical education is reliant on drug marketing money.

Very few of my trainees had read the book (though that might be why they were at my training) which surprised me given the profile of the author and the subsequent media coverage of All Trials.

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