by Peter R. Breggin, M.D. & Ginger Ross Breggin
St. Martins Press, 1995
Review by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on Feb 8th 1997
One of the most controversial books in its time, it is also one of the most detailed analyses of how drug manufacturers gain FDA approval. In making such an analysis, the Breggins also indict the drug manufacturers and the whole drug approval process as inherently flawed, biased, and inadequate for protecting Americans from potentially-harmful new medications.
Some parts of this book are too detailed and can be boring to some readers (professionals especially, who may already have the necessary education and background to skip the sections about how the brain works). But the large majority of the book is neither boring nor easy to put down, as the Breggins detail how Eli Lilly conducted its drug approval studies, analyse the resulting data themselves, and illustrate how Prozac, the popular antidepressant, did only barely better than a sugar pill (or placebo) in some of the studies used for FDA approval.
A reply to another popular Prozac book (Listening to Prozac by Peter Kramer), this book can sometimes go too far in drawing conclusions which the data neither support nor suggest. I would suggest it as a must-read though, if you are taking Prozac or a similar SSRI for the treatment of depression, and especially if you have already read Listening to Prozac. In the context of the other book, it presents "the other side," and in-between, I'd suggest, you will find a middle ground... Yes, there are problems with our current drug approval system, but it still remains one of the more conservative and best such systems in the world. Available in both paperback and hardcover.
If you're taking Prozac or any other of the newer antidepressant medications today, you should read this book.