Excerpt from Bad Science by Ben Goldacre; Chapter 10 “Is Mainstream Medicine Evil?”; second section “The pharmaceutical industry”; paragraphs 1 and 2:
The tricks of the trade which we’ll discuss in this chapter are probably more complicated than most of the other stuff in the book, because we’ll be making technical critiques of an industry’s professional literature. Drug companies thankfully don’t advertise direct to the public in the UK – in America you can find them advertising anxiety pills for your dog – so we are pulling apart the tricks they play on doctors, an audience which is in a slightly better position to call their bluff. This means that we’ll first have to explain some background about how a drug comes to market. This is stuff that you will be taught at school when I become president of the one world government.
Understanding this process is important for one very clear reason. It seems to me that a lot of the stranger ideas people have about medicine derive from an emotional struggle with the very notion of a pharmaceutical industry. Whatever our political leanings, everyone is basically a socialist when it comes to healthcare: we all feel nervous about profit taking any role in the caring professions, but that feeling has nowhere to go. <b>Big pharma is evil: I would agree with that premise.</b> but because people don’t understand exactly how big pharma is evil, <b>their anger and indignation get diverted away from valid criticisms</b> – its role in distorting data, for example, or withholding life-saving AIDS drugs from the developing world – and channelled into infantile fantasies. ‘Big pharma is evil,’ goes the line of reasoning, ‘therefore homeopathy works and the MMR vaccine causes autism.’ This is probably not helpful.