Chapter One The Guinea Pigs
Chapter Two The Ghosts
Chapter Three The Detail Men
Chapter Four The Thought Leaders
Chapter Five The Flacks
Chapter Six The Ethicists
White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicineby Carl Elliot
Pub. Date: 09/14/2010
Publisher: Beacon Press
Over the last twenty-five years, medicine and consumerism have been on an unchecked collision course, but, until now, the fallout from their impact has yet to be fully uncovered. A writer for The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, Carl Elliott ventures into the uncharted dark side of medicine, shining a light on the series of social and/i>/i>/i>
Over the last twenty-five years, medicine and consumerism have been on an unchecked collision course, but, until now, the fallout from their impact has yet to be fully uncovered. A writer for The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, Carl Elliott ventures into the uncharted dark side of medicine, shining a light on the series of social and legislative changes that have sacrificed old-style doctoring to the values of consumer capitalism. Along the way, he introduces us to the often shifty characters who work the production line in Big Pharma: from the professional guinea pigs who test-pilot new drugs and the ghostwriters who pen “scientific” articles for drug manufacturers to the PR specialists who manufacture “news” bulletins. We meet the drug reps who will do practically anything to make quota in an ever-expanding arms race of pharmaceutical gift-giving; the “thought leaders” who travel the world to enlighten the medical community about the wonders of the latest release; even, finally, the ethicists who oversee all that commercialized medicine has to offer from their pharma-funded perches.
Taking the pulse of the medical community today, Elliott discovers the culture of deception that has become so institutionalized many people do not even see it as a problem. Head-turning stories and a rogue’s gallery of colorful characters become his springboard for exploring larger ethical issues surrounding money. Are there certain things that should not be bought and sold? In what ways do the ethics of business clash with the ethics of medical care? And what is wrong with medical consumerism anyway? Elliott asks all these questions and more as he examines the underbelly of medicine.
- Beacon Press
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As a physician assistant, I knew or suspected for years what was going on, but I didn't know for how long it had been going on, and to what extent. It's interesting to explore why the situation exploded as technology changed and as the medical playing field changed. Very disillusioning and disheartening, but no worse, in my opinion, than all the other scandals that become public every day, only a little closer to home. The whole medical field today is just a business; we might as well swap our white lab coats for suit jackets. This is just one more reason I don't practice clinically anymore. Very sad. A must-read for anyone in the medical field, and I daresay that many of my friends and colleagues will see their reflections here.
Carl Elliott does an outstanding job of laying out the ethical issues that medicine has been facing for the last twenty years. With the empathy of a physician and the research of a scientist, he presents the issues and the challenges in a thought provoking manner. I understood the challenges of the pharmaceutical companies, their motivations, and the concerns and challenges of the physicians and scientists. He also provided insight into drug testing and research results that was both interesting and valuable in our family making future medical decisions for those around us. A must read if you want to understand what's happening in medicine, pharmaceuticals and research.