Bitter Pills

Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs

Pharmaceuticals are the most profitable legal manufacturing industry in the world. Corporate giants compete with each other, spending millions on marketing and promotion, to sell more pills. But is this in the best interests of those taking the pills?

Writer Stephen Fried discovered it may not be. In 1992, his wife Diane had an adverse reaction to medication prescribed by her doctor to fight a minor infection. Within a few hours of ingesting the pill, her nervous system went haywire and she ended up in the emergency room — a victim of “the other drug problem.”

Fried writes that reactions to prescription and over-the-counter medications kill more people annually than “all illegal drug use combined.” Most are minor, but his wife’s were not. Bitter Pills tells the story of the drug development and approval system, both its benefits and its shortcomings.

The author has published stories on the topic for both Philadelphia magazine, GQ, The Washington Post Magazine and Vanity Fair. He won the 1994 National Magazine Award for his work and continues investigating the pill-making industry with his book.

People assume doctors are well-informed and the FDA is responsible, says Fried, but there is a disturbing reason to question these assumptions. The book concludes a useful appendix, compiled by Fried and several physicians to educate consumers further.

COPYRIGHT 1997 Vegetus Publications

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group