Summary and book reviews of Generation Rx by Greg Critser

Generation Rx

How Prescription Drugs Are Altering American Lives, Minds, and Bodies

by Greg Critser

Generation Rx
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2005, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2007, 320 pages

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Book Summary

Generation Rx will make every American who has ever taken a prescription drug look anew at what's in our medicine cabinets, and why.

Greg Critser's brilliantly incisive Generation Rx moves the conversation about prescription drugs to where it hits home: our own bodies. How, he asks, has big pharma created a nation of pharmaceutical tribes, each with its own unique beliefs, taboos, and brand loyalties? How have powerful chemical compounds for chronic diseases, once controlled by physicians, become substances we feel entitled to, whether we need them or not? How did we come to hate drug companies but love their pills?

Read on in Generation Rx for: -- exclusive interviews with the strategists, scientists, and current and former heads of GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Merck, Roche, and more -- a first-ever, inside look at the rollicking business story behind pharma's rise to power -- the dramatic effects our drug culture is having on our major organs, from the liver to the heart to the brain -- why old bodies and young bodies are the biggest, and riskiest, arenas for our great American prescription pill party -- how the largely uncharted terrain of polypharmacy (various drugs taken together) has unleashed unanticipated, often deadly, consequences on unwitting patients

Generation Rx will make every American who has ever taken a prescription drug look anew at what's in our medicine cabinets, and why.

Contents

Acknowledgments 

Introduction 
1. UNBOUND 
The Strange and Very American Liberation of Big Pharma 

2. WE LOVE IT! 
How the New Pharma Used Its New Muscle to Create a New . . . You 

3. THE FULL PRICE 
What Living in Pharma's World Means for Our Bodies

4. THE END OF THE GREAT BUFFER? 
Why We Are More Vulnerable 

5. INDEPENDENCE FOR GENERATION RX 
What Can Be Done

A Brief Guide to the Art of Taking Prescription Drugs

Notes

Index

Unbound The Strange and Very American Liberation of Big Pharma

THE MAN IN THE ARENA: WHY PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES BECAME SO AGGRESSIVE

In the world of bureaucratic Washington, D.C., few if any possess the gravitas and smarts to get away with quoting Teddy Roosevelt. Lewis Engman, Richard Nixon's 1973 appointee as chairman of the powerful Federal Trade Commission (FTC), was one of the few. A ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

If you're looking for a light, easy to digest read you may find Generation Rx provides more information than you want to know. However, if you really want to understand the American pharmaceutical business and its effects on the American people, stop right here and read the very extensive excerpt at BookBrowse, which is not only interesting in its own right but will give you a good flavor of the book as a whole   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (156 words).

Media Reviews

The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani

What Mr. Critser has done in these pages is synthesize a lot of information and reserve it to the reader in an accessible, easily digested form - much as he did with information about obesity in his 2003 book, Fat Land. While his prose sometimes buckles from his efforts to be chatty and conversational - at one point, he describes the liver, which can regenerate itself, as "a kind of Donald Trump of the human body" - he does a lucid job conveying the dramatic ways in which the development and marketing of pharmaceuticals have changed over the last two decades and the equally dramatic and often disturbing consequences of this phenomenon.

The New York Times - Joe Queenan

Apocalyptic literature naturally gravitates toward the maudlin, lamenting that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, usually courtesy of someone like Eminem or Tom DeLay. This is what makes Greg Critser's Generation Rx"such an unexpected delight. Although his message is unrelievedly depressing - drug companies, with the nation's physicians and the federal government already on the payroll, have transmogrified a self-reliant nation into a herd of functional drug addicts - there is something so congenial and non-self-righteous about the way he tells his story that few of the scoundrels singled out for public obloquy will take personal offense.

Library Journal - Kathy Arsenault

In this informed study of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry, journalist Critser sounds the impassioned alert that your medicine cabinet may be hazardous to your health....To the reader's great relief, this sorry saga of unprincipled greed is followed by potential practical solutions...For all libraries.

Kirkus Reviews

If a knowledgeable public is the key, this straightforward, highly readable book is a step in the right direction.

Publishers Weekly

According to Critser, almost half of all Americans use a prescription drug daily; one in six take three or more. What are the possible consequences of the staggering recent growth in the use of such drugs? ....Critser's account is solid, thorough and told with vigor.

Booklist - Donna Chavez

Starred Review. Critser has a knack for turning the words of the pharmaceutical industry--he calls it Big Pharma--against it, packing every page with enough "Oh, wow!" information to jade even the most hardened cynic.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Did you know? 
(According to Generation Rx)

The average number of prescriptions per person per year soared from 7 in 1993, to 12 in 2004.

According to the American Society of Clinical Pharmacologists, in 2000 27% of elderly patients received 9+ medications (compared to 17% in 1997).

The amount spent to advertise prescription drugs directly to consumers in 2004 was $4.45 billion (up from $2m in 1980) .

The number of Americans who annually request and receive a prescription for a specific drug after seeing a commercial is 8.5 million.

...

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