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Book and Media Reviews
August 15, 2007

Power of Pills: Social, Ethical & Legal Issues in Drug Development, Marketing & Pricing

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(7):807-812. doi:10.1001/jama.298.7.811

Who could envision that the simple task of placing a pill on the tongue and swallowing it represents the culmination of a fierce battle involving industrialists, politicians, and third-world advocates?

In an increasingly acrimonious dialogue, vested interests on all sides of the pharmaceutical debate are finding themselves with an abundance of front-page headlines and empathetic tales of the woebegone: medications for treatment of human immunodeficiency virus are too expensive for African children. Research and development costs are further burdening United States–based pharmaceutical companies and driving up costs. Medicare Part D is questioning whether politics can play a role in drug price negotiation, as elderly individuals bemoan gaps in their prescription drug plans. Reimportation of less expensive drugs from Canada garners presidential comment.