Our Daily Meds by Melody Petersen
A few months back Melody Petersen's publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux sent me a review copy of her new book, "Our Daily Meds" and it's taken a bit longer than I thought to finish this 432-page tome.
Others have clearly been faster; the book as been top 100 on Amazon for quite some time, and even New York Times has done a book review, so I'm really, really late.
Anyway, Melody Petersen wrote about the drug industry for four years when she was a reporter at the New York Times. I actually met her back in 2003, when she wrote the first major story on me. And I was just as surprised as everyone else when she suddenly quit the Times job. Turns out she followed her husband to Los Angeles, where he landed a job for LA Times. Melody, she wrote a book, and we are all very fortunate that's how she spent her time.
"Our Daily Meds" picks up where Marcia Angell left off with her book "The truth about the drug companies."
"Our Daily Meds" is written like a gigantic and very long New York Times article. It explores the misdeeds of the drug industry, focusing on personal stories in Melody's home state, Iowa.
In that state, drug companies "pitch drugs with video games and soft cuddly toys for children; publicize them in churches and subways, at NASCAR races and state fairs."
"Our Daily Meds" becomes Petersen's personal journey researching the drug industry and ends unequivocally with this statement in her last chapter: "No one knows how many Americans are buried without their families knowing the were killed by prescription drugs."
She bases this on the fact that out of Iowa’s 27,000 death certificates a year there were only five deaths recorded as adverse reactions to prescription drugs in 2002. Melody claims this is due to a massive cover-up.
"Much of the blame must be put on the nation's physicians, who have enjoyed the industry's gifts as their profession has been corrupted and patients have suffered," according to Melody.
Melody uses detailed real-life stories to create heart-warming accounts of people affected by drug industry marketing. And she uses hilarious quotes out of that marketing, such as this one: "Pace yourself" the Prislosec guide warned. "If you just polished off a funnel cake, don't immediately chase it with a chili-cheese dog."
That's drug marketing--in Iowa.
If you loved Angell's book, you will most certainly enjoy this one too . . .