The $800 Million Pill: The Truth behind the Cost of New Drugs

The $800 Million Pill: The Truth behind the Cost of New Drugs

The $800 Million Pill: The Truth behind the Cost of New Drugs

The $800 Million Pill: The Truth behind the Cost of New Drugs


""The $800 Million Pill is a masterful work of explanatory and investigative journalism. Merrill Goozner has versed himself in the interlocking worlds of medicine, business, politics, and basic science to explain how pharmaceutical breakthroughs truly occur. He also explains why drug costs are now so needlessly high.JThis is a compelling and important book."--James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly, author of "Breaking the News

"Merrill Goozner does a superb job at explaining just how the pharmaceutical industry gets away with systematic overcharging, and why bio-medical advances do not require the current profiteering. This is the definitive book on this vital topic."--Robert Kuttner, Co-Editor of "The American Prospect and author of "Everything for Sale

"Why do your prescription drugs cost so much? The real answers may surprise you. In a lively and straightforward narrative, veteran journalist Merrill Goozner goes behind the headlines and pharmaceutical industry spin to uncover the politics and the practices that drive up drug costs. His diagnosis and prescriptions make a valuable contribution to the growing national debate over safe, quality and affordable health care for all Americans."--Clarence Page, syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune

"Merrill Goozner has written an important book. The high-stakes national debate over what to do about prescription drug coverage and costs too often suffers from a dearth of facts and analysis. This volume helps to fill that gap by illuminating the seemingly opaque world of pharmaceutical research and development."--Susan Dentzer, Health Correspondent for "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS


In the quarter-century since the dawn of the biotechnology revolution, hundreds of research scientists at the nation's elite medical schools have decamped from their tenured sinecures to join pharmaceutical firms or biotechnology start-ups. Most have set up shop near the institutions that trained them—near Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, or Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. Others have gravitated to the outskirts of Washington, D. C., to be near the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the funding colossus of the biomedical world. Most see themselves as dedicated scientists in the mold of Martin Arrowsmith, the fictional physician in Sinclair Lewis's novel, whose passion to make a mark in the world of research was always leavened by his abiding concern for the health of mankind. But virtually all have lurking somewhere in the corners of their minds another goal. They want to start the next Amgen.

Amgen Inc., however, did not spring from any of the intellectual command posts of the biotechnology revolution. It began in an office park in Thousand Oaks, a skateboard haven about an hour's drive north of Los Angeles, far enough from downtown that local inhabitants sometimes refer to it as Thousand Miles. In that small city of cookie-cutter ranch homes and enclosed shopping malls, a handful of scientists trained at the University of California at Los Angeles and skilled in the new art of . . .

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