Behind every landmark drug is a story. Piece together these stories, as Thomas Hager does in this remarkable, century-spanning history, and you can trace the evolution of our culture and the practice of medicine.
Shows that drug development generally benefits human health and longevity, but there are often side effects for patients and society. Especially troubling is the influence of profit-driven corporations and the inequality of health care. Written for general readers, Hager’s book is entertaining, insightful, and recommended for all public libraries.
The stories are skillfully told and entirely entertaining ... The history of vaccines, mostly the story of smallpox eradication, is so satisfying that it deserves its chapter. Hager follows with exciting stories of discovery with an international reach—antibiotics in Germany, antipsychotics in France, cholesterol-lowering drugs in Japan—and plenty of unknown geniuses. Though not a muckraker, the author is no fan of drug companies, and he admits that new drugs are greeted with too much enthusiasm, unpleasant side effects invariably appear, and the juiciest pharmaceutical 'low-hanging fruit' was plucked during a golden age that ended 50 years ago ... An expert, mostly feel-good book about modern medicine.