By New Yorker and Atlantic writer Carl Elliott, a readable and even funny account of the serious business of medicine.
A tongue-in-cheek account of the changes that have transformed medicine into big business. Physician and medical ethicist Carl Elliott tracks the new world of commercialized medicine from start to finish, introducing the professional guinea pigs, ghostwriters, thought leaders, drug reps, public relations pros, and even medical ethicists who use medicine for (sometimes huge) financial gain. Along the way, he uncovers the cost to patients lost in a health-care universe centered around consumerism.
About the Author
Carl Elliott is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Bioethics at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of A Philosophical Disease: Bioethics, Culture, and Identity and The Rules of Insanity: Moral Responsibility and Mental Illness. John D. Lantos is Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Do We Still Need Doctors? and coeditor of Primum Non Nocere Today.
"Elliott grips the reader's attention all the way."
"Dr. Elliott's entertaining and extremely readable essays will have you convinced that in comparison to the shenanigans that go into the creation of a single prescription pill, fingerprint erasure might actually be a little dull."
—Abigail Zuger, MD, New York Times
“If you think your doctors prescribe medications for you on the basis of their unbiased judgment and objective medical research, this book will disabuse you of that old-fashioned fantasy. In his superb exposé, Carl Elliott shows how the big drug companies have bribed and corrupted the medical establishment so that we no longer know which drugs are effective or why our doctors prescribe them.”
—Marcia Angell, author of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It
“Beneath the white coats and sterile labs of the great American heath care system, Carl Elliott finds a drug-addled, gang-run, con game—sometimes bizarre, often hilarious. The noble arc that runs from Hippocrates to Sherwin Nuland washes out in a ‘business model’ apparently inspired by Timothy Leary, John Gotti, and that infomercial pitch guy for ShamWow.”
—Jack Hitt, contributing editor for This American Life and author of Off the Road
"Enjoyable to read and laced with sardonic wit, this is an eye-opening work that all consumers of health care should read."
“Carl Elliott has written a deep, daring, and sometimes very funny book about aspects of medicine you’ve never seen, and probably never will unless you take the time to crack this cover. You’ll discover what it means when healers forget—or maybe never grasped—their main mission and pollute not only medicine but all those within its circle. Elliott’s book describes the conundrum of modern medical practice wittily, incisively, and beautifully. This book should be required reading for anyone who has ever been a patient—in other words, for everyone.”
—Lauren Slater, author of Opening Skinner's Box and Prozac Diary