Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Review

An insider’s view of the drug industry

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 25 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1138
  1. Allen F Shaughnessy, professor of public health and family medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  1. Allen.Shaughnessy{at}

    A view of the drug industry from inside the laboratories is one long apologia, finds Allen F Shaughnessy

    Too often the only face of the drug industry we see is the slick young men and women hawking their wares, the omnipresence of advertisements at medical meetings, and our images of executives in the companies known only by the decisions they make in the relentless pursuit of profit.

    However, there is another aspect of the industry. Far removed from the business side are the scientists holed up in laboratories who start the process of discovering the chemicals that will be miraculously turned into “medications” that save or improve the lives of many people.

    Drug Truths, written by a research chemist who spent his career with Pfizer, presents a view of the industry from inside these laboratories, far from the suit filled boardrooms where the business is conducted. Although he exchanged his white coat for a pinstripe suit as he moved during his career from the bench to become Pfizer’s president of global research and development, John LaMattina has not lost his awe and sense of wonder at the drug discovery business and breathlessly presents this side of the industry as he attempts to bust the so called myths that surround it.

    The human side of pharmaceutical research is illustrated in …

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