Worse than the Disease: Pitfalls of Medical Progress

DES and the Elusive Goal of Drug Safety

Worse than the Disease - Pitfalls of Medical Progress book cover
Includes “DES and the elusive goal of drug safety” case study

The distance between medical and public priorities is exposed in four case studies that reveal the human choices governing scientific innnovation and explore the political, economic and social factors influencing those choices.

This book – by Diana Barbara Dutton – examines four medical innovations that epitomize the pitfalls of progress:

  • DES and the elusive goal of drug safety – about a synthetic estrogen prescribed to millions of women to supposedly prevent miscarriages, which produced devastating side effects;
  • the artificial heart;
  • the 1976 swine flu immunization programme;
  • genetic engineering: science and social responsibility.

Dutton and the contributors trace the human choices that govern medical and scientific innovation and explore the political, economic, and social factors that influence those choices. In the process, they reveal a deep gulf between the priorities of medical innovation and the concerns of the general public. They then propose concrete policy changes to help bridge that gulf.

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