About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Rationally Speaking podcast: Ben Goldacre on Bad Pharma
In this live episode of Rationally Speaking, Massimo and Julia interview Ben about his new book, Bad Pharma, and how the evidence about pharmaceutical drugs gets distorted due to shoddy regulations, missing data, and the influence of drug companies.
About the book: We like to imagine that medicine is based on evidence and the results of fair tests. In reality, those tests are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors are familiar with the research literature about a drug, when in reality much of the research is hidden from them by drug companies. We like to imagine that doctors are impartially educated, when in reality much of their education is funded by the pharmaceutical industry. We like to imagine that regulators let only effective drugs onto the market, when in reality they approve useless drugs, with data on side effects casually withheld from doctors and patients.
All these problems have been shielded from public scrutiny because they’re too complex to capture in a sound bite. But Ben Goldacre shows that the true scale of this murderous disaster fully reveals itself only when the details are untangled. He believes we should all be able to understand precisely how data manipulation works and how research misconduct on a global scale affects us.
With Goldacre’s characteristic flair and a forensic attention to detail, Bad Pharma reveals a shockingly broken system and calls for something to be done. This is the pharmaceutical industry as it has never been seen before.