Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg by Doug Bremner

Accutane was a drug that was prescribed for the treatment of severe acne.  There were, however, a significant number of teens that committed suicide while on the drug, including the son of Senator Bart Stupak.  The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg looks at the attitude of drug company, Hoffman-La Roche, and their cover-up of the side effects of Accutane.  The author, Doug Bremner, was asked to research the possible link between Accutane and suicides and was also involved in presenting his findings to the courts.  This was an interesting and frightening look at the length that drug companies will go to prevent the loss of dollars in spite of the loss of lives.

The book also looks at the author’s family history and genealogy.  As a genealogist, I found it interesting to read about his search for family members, but I had trouble keeping his extended family straight.  I have trouble keeping my own in order, so trying to remember who is who for another family was impossible. Still, it had good tips and links for others researching their family members.  The author also included information about his personal family tragedies and emotional issues.   

It was difficult at times to take seriously a book about the science of drugs and the tragedy of teen suicide when the author is also talking about “Indigo children” and other new-age non-scientific subjects. 

I think that the book traveled too much from its original purpose. It had an important message about the drug companies, but that aspect of the story did not give me a satisfying resolution.  I wanted to know more about the drug, its continued availability, and the legal ramifications surrounding Hoffman-La Roche. That said, I did find the book interesting, and I think it has an important warning we should all heed when we take what we assume is a safe prescribed drug.

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