Ben Goldacre has done it again. In his previous book, “Bad Science,’’ Goldacre, a British physician and epidemiologist, made hash of much of the pseudoscience that attempts to pass itself off as a credible alternative to modern biomedicine. This time, in “Bad Pharma,’’ Goldacre turns his attention to an issue that has undermined the empirical scientific basis of biomedicine itself: the collusion of pharmaceutical companies, physicians, medical journals, governmental regulatory agencies, and medical schools in hiding and manipulating data about drug development and marketing.
Both have resulted in rendering much of what we think we know about what works and what doesn’t work in medicine not fully accurate, to put it mildly. It is heartbreaking to look at the professionals, organizations, and institutions who have been involved in this and to realize that these are precisely the ones you would have expected to rise above the opportunity to enrich themselves and to make all efforts to ensure that patients are treated with safe and effective medications.