More recent nonfiction about pharmaceutical drugs
December 5, 2013 10:59 AM   Subscribe

I love reading nonfiction about pharmaceutical drugs, their development, use, methods of action, etc. What's out there lately that I should read? Recent books I've read inside.

I loved both Bad Pharma (read it twice!) and Bad Science by Ben Goldacre, and just finished Phake by Roger Bate. Read The Emperor of All Maladies and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I'm fixing to read Cracked by James Davies. I don't mind having to look things up that can be a bit complicated; it doesn't need to be strictly pop science or layman's terms. Bonus for Kindle books.
posted by fiercecupcake to Science & Nature (12 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
It's getting a bit old (published in 2000), but take a look at Of Two Minds: The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry. It's essentially an ethnography of the field by an anthropologist, and highly engaging while still being academic.
posted by The Michael The at 11:03 AM on December 5, 2013

The Billion Dollar Molecule by Werth. It's a little dated (1995) but super fun to read and provides a pretty accurate account of drug development.
posted by un petit cadeau at 11:26 AM on December 5, 2013

The Body Hunters by Sonia Shah, about clinical trials in Africa and Asia.
posted by ActionPopulated at 11:27 AM on December 5, 2013

Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

Interestingly, this was written by the same guy who wrote the biography of Kinsey that formed the basis for the movie.
posted by janey47 at 11:41 AM on December 5, 2013

It's not pharma but is healthcare/medicine: if you haven't discovered Atul Gawande, he's a good read.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:49 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Demon under the microscope. Fascinating book about the early development of antibiotics.
posted by u2604ab at 12:14 PM on December 5, 2013

It's not new, and a bit denser than most of those listed above, but Drug Discovery: A History is exactly what is title suggests, and is very good.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 12:33 PM on December 5, 2013

Speaking of Atul Gawande, I asked a similar (but more broad) question a couple of months ago and got a lot of great answers that might interest you.
posted by telegraph at 2:11 PM on December 5, 2013

I enjoyed The Cutter Incident, about the history of the polio vaccine. It's got a bit of science, a bit of intrigue, and a bit of politics.
posted by vasi at 2:53 PM on December 5, 2013

My standard answer to everything pharma related

In the pipeline on Xmas presents - books on medicinal chemistry/drug discovery and their coverage on A new yorker piece on Merck's development of drugs should get you going.
posted by lalochezia at 6:20 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level discusses the development of Gleevec (imatinib) which is a miracle drug for leukemia with a particular genetic mutation.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 7:55 PM on December 5, 2013

I really enjoyed Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases by Paul Offit.
posted by vespabelle at 9:26 PM on December 5, 2013

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