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White Coat, Black Hat – Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine
Author: Carl Elliott
Publisher: Beacon Press
Carl Elliott, professor of Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, takes a close look at the pharmaceutical industry and what he terms the ‘dark side of medicine’.
He highlights the concern that, as medical practice becomes more commercialised, there is a widening gap between patient-centred care and the business practices of international pharmaceutical companies.
The discussion begins with the professional guinea pigs who travel from one clinical trial to another, testing new drugs in sometimes appalling conditions. He moves on to the ethical considerations of ghostwritten scientific articles and drug reps who skilfully manipulate doctors’ prescribing habits.
Combining his own medical experience, philosophy and the insights of experts in the field, each topic receives a carefully considered analysis. Elliott’s writing style is clear and to the point, but features sufficient humour to maintain interest.
Some of the accounts make for uncomfortable reading. But this book is thought provoking – a real eye opener – and I recommend it to everyone.
Reviewer: Simon McGurk
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