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Vilification of critics of the pharmaceutical industry from the vice president of a market-oriented think tank.
Goldberg, co-founder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, which waged a strong campaign against health-care reform, charges that "instant experts" are deliberately using scare tactics to manipulate health information on the Internet in order to influence public policy and corporate behavior. Emphasizing that nothing in life is risk-free, the author alleges that unrealistic concerns about the safety of drugs is impeding pharmaceutical companies from bringing new drugs to market. Examples of challenged therapies abound. In his discussion of the removal of Vioxx from the market, he describes cardiologist Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic as a "self-appointed drug regulator" who has made a career out of attacking drugs, and David Graham of the FDA's Office of Drug Safety as doing "everything possible to scare the public and further his personal grudges, at the expense of scientific truth." In Goldberg's view, there is a new movement afoot—tabloid medicine—which is trying to convince the public that pharmaceutical companies have made blatant attempts to buy doctors and scientists and that medical research receiving industry support cannot be trusted. He charges that tabloid medicine, driven by advocacy organizations and retailers of alternative medicine, is using the Internet to spread frightening stories about the risks of drugs that do not give a true picture of their benefits. To neutralize this movement, Goldberg proposes adoption of personalized medicine—i.e., the use of scientific advances such as genetic testing to match patients to treatment and thereby maximize benefits and reduce risks. He also strongly urges the medical community, including drug companies, physicians and government agencies, to use the Internet to fight back against the messages of tabloid medicine. Further, he offers Internet users in search of information about health matters some sound advice about becoming more skeptical: Investigate who created the content and who funds the website.
A heavy-handed infomercial.
Chapter 1 Prospect Theory: The Risks We Choose to Live with and Why 1
Chapter 2 The Precautionary Principle: The Politics of Pseudocertainty 26
Chapter 3 Insta-Americans: The Rise of Online Self-Diagnosis 53
Chapter 4 A Damaging Precedent: The Side Effects of the Vioxx Panic 84
Chapter 5 Web of Fear: Vaccines, Autism, and the Emergence of "Instant Experts" 110
Chapter 6 The Suicide Crisis: Sowing Fear about Antidepressants 145
Chapter 7 Assault on Scientists: The Conflict-of-interest Canard 173
Chapter 8 Tabloid Medicine's Victims: Public Health and Medical Progress 209
Chapter 9 Battling Tabloid Medicine: The Personalized Medicine Revolution 242
About the Author 325