Overdosed America Paperback Edition Available

"Some of the nation's worst drug dealers aren't peddling on the street corners, they're occupying corporate suites. Overdosed America reveals the greed and corruption that drive health care costs skyward and now threatens the public health. Before you see a doctor, you should read this book." - Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation

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Excerpts: Introduction | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14

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This fascinating, informative and very readable book is written by a doctor who was so concerned about the pharmaceutical companies ability to distorting medical knowledge that he took a year out to research and write it. Dr Abramson believes we are risking our health, our bank balances, as well as the impartiality of our medical profession as they are often misled about the real results of drug research.

John Abramson focuses on a number of current concerns and illustrates some of them with case histories from a few of his own patients. His insights into the way the adverse research findings of Vioxx and Celebrex were handled is just one example of how he believes profit comes before health.

He shows us how information was suppressed on the serious cardiovascular side effects that were evident in the research of these Cox-2 inhibitor medications, used in the treatment and control of arthritis. Vioxx and Celebrex were promoted for their minimal gastrointestinal side effects, but the deaths from sudden cardiac death, heart attack, unstable angina, TIA's and blood clots, were hidden.

Dr Abramson paints a worrying picture of U.S. healthcare. Doctor's research is biased by drug company salaries, medical journal printing research that they do not scrutinize or validate, the systems of the Food and Drug Administration that result in failure to correct misleading information and act as an independent watchdog, and the way we are influenced by drug company advertising to demand certain treatments from our medics.

There are some surprising statistics in his book too. For instance, the US spends twice as much per person on healthcare than other industrialized nations yet it ranks 22nd out of 23 countries on healthy life expectancy. Of 56 drugs approved for use between 1995 and 2000 only 13% contained new active ingredients.

The good news amongst his concerns about HRT (hormone replacement therapy) side effects, exaggerated claims of cholesterol treatments and the serious side effects of Cox-2 arthritis drugs, is that we can do a lot ourselves to improve our health.

A must read for you, your doctor and the medical profession.

John Abramson is currently a member of the clinical faculty of Harvard Medical School teaching primary care. His book Overdo$ed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine is published by Harper Collins.