As the cost of prescription medication soars, consumers are increasingly taking generic drugs: low-cost alternatives to brand-name medicines. Often health insurance plans require patients to switch to generics as a way of controlling costs. But journalist Katherine Eban warns that some of these medications might not be as safe, or effective, as we think.
He's a longtime correspondent on health and science policy for The New York Times. In his new book, Protecting America's Health: the FDA, Business, and One Hundred Years of Regulation, he chronicles the history of the Food and Drug Administration from its start during the administration of Teddy Roosevelt. Hilts also broke the now-famous story of the Brown and Williamson tobacco industry papers, and is the author of Smoke Screen: The Truth Behind the Tobacco Industry Cover-Up.
David Kessler is former Commissioner of the US food and Drug Administration. As such, he took on one of the country's most powerful foes: the tobacco industry. They investigated tobacco makers to determine whether nicotine was a drug, and if so, be regulated by the FDA. Kessler's book about it is A Question of Intent: A Great American Battle with a Deadly Industry.
Dr. Robert Temple, Director of the FDA's Office of Drug Evaluation. He's a large figure in Thomas Moore's new book, Dangerous Medicine. Moore says Temple let harmful drugs remain on the market virtually unrestricted, even though the risks were known. Temple gives the reason why the FDA let the drugs remain on the market.
In the first ten years of the AIDS epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration approved only two drugs to treat the disease. Yet a third drug, approved last month, took only eight months. Health economist Peter Arno's new book, "Against The Odds" tells how AIDS activists have sparked sweeping reforms of the drug approval process, and sped up access to drug development for all illnesses.