Deadly Monopolies

The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself—and the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future
Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself—and the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future. Doubleday. Oct. 2011. c.432p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780385528924. $28.95. MED
In 2004, Marcia Angell called for major reform in the pharmaceutical industry in her groundbreaking book, The Truth About the Drug Companies. Now, National Book Critics Circle Award winner Washington (Medical Apartheid) illustrates that, in many ways, the issues surrounding drug research are only getting worse. She contends many of the problems relate to the Bayh-Dole Act, the U.S. patent system, and researchers' ability to patent not only genes but also other life forms. Regulatory changes in the way the drug industry and universities collaborate have led to stronger financial incentives, significant conflicts of interest, and an emphasis on creating profitable drugs at the expense of vital new medical research. Perhaps most frightening are the examples of how Henrietta Lacks's story is not unique—other Americans have had cells or organs confiscated for research without permission and without seeing a direct benefit. These research abuses are not limited to the United States and are also perpetrated in developing countries.
VERDICT Extensively documented with minimal scientific jargon, this book is recommended for any reader interested in the future of our health system. [See Prepub Alert, 8/4/11.]

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