Chasing Medical Miracles
The Promise and Perils of Clinical TrialsBook - 2009
An insider's view of the multi-billion-dollar world of clinical trials discusses how they have reshaped the American medical establishment and the ethical questions surrounding research conducted with little oversight.
Journalist Alex O'Meara is one of the more than twenty million Americans enrolled in a clinical trial—three times as many people as a decade ago. Indeed, clinical trials have become a $24 billion industry that is reshaping every aspect of health-care development and delivery in the United States and around the world.
As O'Meara chronicles, twentieth-century medical trials have led to epic advances in health care, from asthma inhalers and insulin pumps to heart valves and pacemakers. And yet, although regulations safeguard against grossly unethical tests, significant problems are still associated with how clinical trials are carried out and reported. For example, despite eight clinical trials for Vioxx before the FDA approved it in 1998 for use as a painkiller, Merck took it off the market in 2004, too late for the eighty-eight thousand Americans who suffered heart attacks while taking Vioxx and the thirty-eight thousand who died.
Chasing Medical Miracles is the first book to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the complicated world of clinical trials, revealing how a multibillion-dollar industry of private companies conducting them with little oversight has taken root and quietly become a major part of the American medical establishment. Whether you are participating in a clinical trial, considering that option, or interested in our medical system, Alex O'Meara's ground-breaking book is essential reading.