The Truth About the Drug Companies: How they deceive us and what to do about itBMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7470.862 (Published 07 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:862
- Fred Charatan, retired geriatric physician (email@example.com)
Dr Marcia Angell, a member of Harvard Medical School's Department of Social Medicine, has written a painstakingly researched book on the wiles and ways of what has come to be called “big pharma.” It is a clear exposé of the American drug industry and is written in the impassioned but impeccable prose we expect from a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Angell says that $200bn (£110bn; €165bn) is spent annually on prescription drugs in the United States. With the cost rising 12% a year, it is the fastest growing part of America's swollen health bill. In 2002 the average price of the 50 commonest drugs used by elderly people was nearly $1500 for a year's supply. At, say, six prescriptions—not an uncommon number among elderly Americans—that's $9000 a year for one person's drugs. What are the remedies for this unaffordable financial …