5.0 out of 5 stars Frightening well written, June 28, 2011
By Reader – See all my reviewsThis review is from: The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg (Kindle Edition)
The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg is the kind of insider tale which every consumer fears reading and which we all should read. Long shadows have always lain over the pharmaceutical industry and in the deftly written hands of Dr. Bremner the reader comes to realize that just because you are paranoid doesnt mean nobodys following you. Accutane was a hugely popular drug and I wont give a spoiler here because this reads like a thriller but ugh is all the truth and you need to find out for yourself.
For some reason this book brought back memories of the old Johnson and Johnson poisoned Tylenol scandal. Well the pharmaceutical giant Dr. Bremner writes about isnt attacked by some random lunatic who wants to see people die, the bad guys here are fully informed and they are wearing Brooks Brothers. Woodward and Bernstein would love this book I do too.
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of “The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg”, June 28, 2011
By Garry Wilson – See all my reviewsThis review is from: The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg (Kindle Edition)
I just finished reading “The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg.” I enjoyed it very much. What a journey Doug had. I should not have been surprised at how many medical and drug company professionals turned a blind eye to a dangerous drug for personal gain; but I was. I think most of us still believe most doctors and especially psychiatrists are altruistic. I guess doctors are not immune from human nature: people are reluctant to “kill the golden goose.” I was also surprised that a major reputable drug company would continue to push a drug that might be leading to suicide. Even if you don’t expect them to take a suspect drug off the market on moral grounds, selling drugs that may be killing people is very bad for business. After all, trust and Goodwill are fundamental to long term success. In this story Doug reminded me of Don Quixote: not a knight by profession, but someone who could not tolerate the way some scoundrels were treating Dulcinea — who, by the way turns out to be much more than a metaphor in this story; but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Sometimes life presents us with real dragons. Maybe it’s only then we find out what we’re made of.
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to take your breath away, June 26, 2011
By T. Hewtson LE ROUX – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) This review is from: The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg (Kindle Edition)
Having worked for a highly ethical pharmaceutical company who if a single rat died in Asia pulled the drug worldwide immediately, I am nonethless aware of the way pharmaceuticals are marketed which, like all marketing, is a sophisticated way of bending the truth to make it more appealing than it would be warts ‘n’ all.
With chocolate bars or clothing, the high gloss endorsements of movie stars are simply ’sales puff’, but when it comes down to drugs, burying some uncomfortable truths can actually kill people – in the case of Accutane, maybe even 3,000 or more. The misapplication of drugs is the biggest killer of people from hospital-generated causes in US hospitals, running into hundreds of thousands of deaths a year.
The power of ‘The Golden Goose’ is partly in the story itself, the detailing of the tricks used by one drugs company to bury uncomfortable facts and the purveyors of those uncomfortable facts alongside them, but it is mostly in the searing writing which immediately has you sitting on the edge of your seat wanting to hear more.
It is a very important tale stunningly well told. It also explains some of the motivations of at least this one whistleblower beyond maybe the fame of standing up for the truth to a longstanding burning anger from his childhood as to how maybe the most important truth in his world at the time was witheld from him and even distorted.
A truly fascinating read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Frightening, moving, personal and redemptive., June 30, 2011
By Timothy Murphy, MD – See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg (Kindle Edition)
Dr Bremner has written a moving account weaving together his personal struggles of loss and shame, with the professional struggles he faces in mid-career when a large pharmaceutical firm goes on the offensive to discredit his research, which threatens the profits they are making on Accutane.
As a research physician, I have been lucky to have avoided the pitfalls Dr. Bremner faced. But the profits made on medications are driving the research almost entirely now, and that financial concern will inevitably force patient safety to the rear. I remember a research scientist with a large international firm telling me that the profits associated with the antibiotic I was researching – amounting to some 300 million a year – was “like the money left over in your office coffee fund at the end of the month” in the view of the controlling pharmaceutical company. It was then that I started to grasp the scale of profits that they are interested in and how they make choices about drugs.
When Dr. Bremner started to look into the neurologic changes in the brain associated with Accutane, he met determined resistance from colleagues, and the industry. This then turned into personal and professional attacks on his integrity and his science itself. The extent of the steps that Roche took to ruin his career are stunning, and will serve as a warning shot to any other scientist considering facing them down. The degree of direct and immoral complicity in that attack by members of the academic faculty are equally stunning.
But unlike the movies, where the hero just bravely and boldly takes on the big bad boys (win or lose), this narrative moves instead into a honest account of how terrifying this really is. The honesty in the book is stunningly clear, straightforward and blunt. Dr. Bremner is unsparing in detailing his own personal failings in coping with the stress of being attacked in such a personal and vicious manner.
As he struggles with a tendency to withdraw into fantasy, he begins to connect how his personal struggle in coping with the attacks by Roche is influenced by his unresolved grief over the loss of his mother. He details how he gradually started to look for her story – covered up and denied by his surviving father and step-mother – and how that search finally leads him to a healing place. It is so clear that he had to go straight into his pain, to be able to deal with his marital and professional struggles.
This book details perfectly the personal struggles one would face who had lost a parent at a very young age. It exposes the fraudulent and decadent practices of the high-flying academic physicians who are sometimes in the pocket of Big Pharma. The book details how we can retreat into fantasy to numb our pain, but also how facing it heals our pain. It shows us how poorly families can deal with death and loss, often for the simple reason that they did not know any better – even smart folks like psychiatrists.
This book is a riveting and excellent read – I read it in one sitting. I highly recommend it.
Timothy Murphy, MD
University of Pittsburgh
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs Up for the “The Goose”, June 29, 2011
By Neil Shulman MD – See all my reviewsThis review is from: The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg (Kindle Edition)
Doug Bremner is a an academic doctor who studied psychiatry and nuclear medicine. He took on a major pharmaceutical company because he did research that demonstrated that a drug used for acne could be causing kids to commit suicide. That drug was making a lot of money, as much as a billion dollars a year, for a pharmaceutical company. Doug tells how the company spent lots of money on lawyers and investigators to challenge his findings which demeaned his character. Doug did not sit on the sidelines, he came out swinging with an ultimate aim to defend the results of his research and to defend his research so that proper precautions could be taken to avoid potential life-threatening side-effects of the medication. This book is a compelling read about what happened after that.
—-NEIL SHULMAN MD, AUTHOR OF “DOC HOLLYWOOD” AND “YOUR BODY’S RED LIGHT WARNING SIGNALS”