Pre-publication comments on Powerful Medicines:
"This is an authoritative, stunningly comprehensive, and beautifully written work about a subject that ought to interest every American. At last: a smart Harvard doctor who knows drugs, understands FDA and regulatory policy, and has a sense of humor. Unbelievable!"
--Donald Kennedy, Ph.D., Editor-in-chief, Science; President emeritus, Stanford University; Former Commissioner of the FDA
"Powerful Medicines is a must read for anyone interested in the use, abuse, and economics of prescription drugs. The issues it addresses are central to the ongoing debate about how to reduce the cost and improve the quality of health care in America."
--Senator Edward M. Kennedy
"In Powerful Medicines, Dr. Avorn brilliantly demonstrates the corrosive effects of commercial influence over medical research, education, and clinical care. This compelling book spells out the adverse effects such privatization can have on the health care system and ultimately on patients."
-- Bernard Lown, M.D. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
"Only Jerry Avorn, with his insider's penetrating vision, could show us the triumphs and travesties, promises and perils of today's prescription drugs. Refreshingly, he not only diagnoses the ills of our current system but proposes novel remedies that we are well advised to heed."
-- Jerome Groopman, M.D.Author, The Anatomy of Hope; Recanati Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
"A book that is at once engrossing and definitive."
-- Howard Gardner, Ph.D., Author, Multiple Intelligences and Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet
"In this pragmatic volume, Avorn sets out an impressive plan for the American health care system to get helpful drugs to those who need them, protect patients from dangerous side effects and keep costs within reasonable limits" Informative and witty" makes a compelling case for prescription sanity and shows how constructive change can realistically be achieved."
"Profiteeering pharmaceutical companies and the FDA have met their match in Dr. Jerry Avorn, a Harvard Medical school researcher and clinician. In Powerful Medicines, he brilliantly combines patient vignettes, scientific critique, and statistics to create a risk/benefit balance for prescription drugs. His premise: "Every drug is a triangle with three faces--representing the healing it can bring, the hazards it can inflict and the economic impact of each." Avorn's gifts as a writer are apparent in the prologue, an edgy account of the mismanaged medications of several stroke patients. He then details the intellectual history of drug assessment and benefits, including the biblical food police in the Book of Daniel, the deer in the headlights Estrogen debacle and the current infatuation with Ginseng and other alternative medicines. Turning from benefits to risks, Avorn examines diet pills, Viagra, cold medicines and diabetes drugs with comparisons the decisions of Dr. Fautus--who makes life-changing bargains between safety and effectiveness. Other insightful chapters offer views of prescription drug economies, and comparative healthcare around the globe. The final chapters create an insightful template for emerging public policy. Throughout, Avorn pulls at common threads: the line between personal and public responsibility, the perils of drug promotion, and the marketplace that usurps the role of scientific evidence in selecting treatments. Anyone looking for a quick muckraking read will be disappointed. But Avorn's views, literate and complex, will frame the debate on prescription drugs for years to come."
--Editorial review, Amazon.com