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Book Overview

The history of medicinal drugs extends back to the earliest human civilizations, when the search began for natural materials—plant, animal, or mineral—that might possess the power to cure, alleviate, or avert maladies or wounds. The quest continues still, conducted now by scientists and doctors in the thousands and in the shadow of big pharma. The story abounds with human interest, populated as it is with geniuses and charlatans, with the inspired and the deluded, with self-sacrifice and self-aggrandizement.

 

Medicine over the centuries has been pervaded by false doctrines amounting to superstitions, the causes of endless misery and numberless death, and there were truths not recognized for decades and longer.  Finally, industry, and its profit motive, has become an inescapable presence, which is sometimes a blessing to some or a curse to others, a source sometimes of corruption or sometimes of dazzling progress. Which of these predominates, it is up to the reader to judge.

 

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