|For immediate release
Toronto, February 28, 2012. Pharmaceutical companies have hijacked healthcare in America, and the results are life-threatening.In his new book, Pharmageddon, Dr. David Healy documents a riveting and terrifying story that affects us all. Healy also has an idea for the solution…
“A medical classic the day it was published.”
Dr. Healy’s new book, Pharmageddon, is the story of a tragedy. Key messages in the book include:
Reversing the trend of the past century, life expectancy in the US has already dropped compared to other advanced countries. “We are in a world where increasingly we need protection from the latest miracle cure to ensure we do not die prematurely,” says Dr. Healy.
The global market for pharmaceuticals is US$900 billion, but apart from cancer drugs, few new drugs target disease. The bestsellers are “lifestyle” or “risk management” drugs: antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs ($60 billion), cholesterol-lowering statins ($34 billion), blood sugar-lowering hypoglycemics ($24 billion), acid reflux drugs ($26 billion), and treatments for osteoporosis and sexual ”dysfunction.”
Drug side effects range from discomfort through emotional problems to death. Only 1 in 7 new drugs are superior to existing ones. Not realizing this, millions take the 6 in 7 drugs that aren’t, even though they have not been properly tested for risks of harm, often with grave consequences. At least 1.5 million US hospitalizations a year and about 129,000 hospital deaths are caused by serious drug reactions. Yet, fewer than 5% of serious side effects are even reported. Adverse side effects reported by patients and doctors are discounted as “anecdotal”. As a result many are dying unnecessarily from heart attacks, suicide, homicide and strokes.
Health care costs are running dangerously high — close to 20% of US GDP — threatening to derail both the US and the global economy. Drugs are one of the biggest drivers of these costs, directly accounting for up to 20% of health insurers’ costs. The direct costs of treating adverse drug events are estimated to be US $5 billion per year, with US $100 billion in indirect costs. Adverse drug events are currently the fourth leading cause of death in the US and Europe and the leading cause of death within the mental health domain. “This is where any ideas of universal health care will founder,” says Dr. Healy.
How did the drug companies capture our doctors and medical care? Dr. Healy draws back the curtain to expose the secrets that enable them to circumvent protections, such as controlled trials, evidence-based medicine, and regulatory approvals. He reveals the role of medical ghostwriters in supporting “off-label” prescribing and criticizes organized medicine for failing patients. Dr. Healy also demonstrates how statistics are manipulated to hide unwanted outcomes and inconvenient deaths.
Dr. Healy looks at the larger issues that have shaped the current sickness infecting health care and how we might come to grips with and treat this severe disorder.
What he also offers is a solution — RxISK.org, the first free website (not sponsored by big pharma or advertising) for patients and their doctors to research, and more importantly, easily report drug side effects. The website will also offer patients a medical timeline chart that captures essential information on their symptoms that will enable them to have a more informed discussion with their doctors about the prescription drugs they are taking and their possible consequences.
Dr. Healy will be in North America March 4-24 (New York, Toronto, Los Angeles), lecturing at medical schools, and promoting Pharmageddon and RxISK.org.
Dr. David Healy studied medicine in Dublin and Cambridge England. Currently a Professor of Psychological Medicine at the University of Wales, he is the author of 16 books, including The Antidepressant Era, The Creation of Psychopharmacology, The Psychopharmacologists Volumes 1-3, and Let Them Eat Prozac.
Dr. Healy is a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Data Based Medicine Limited, which operates through its website, RxISK.org, dedicated to “making medicines safer for all of us” through online direct-patient reporting of drug effects. He also publishes through his blog DavidHealy.org and on Twitter @DrDavidHealy.
University of California Press
Please contact us if you would like a copy of PHARMAGEDDON for review purposes, or if you would like to schedule an interview with Dr. Healy.