Generic -- The Unbranding of Modern Medicine by Jeremy A. Greene, Johns Hopkins UPress '14, $29.95, 354 pages, ASIN #1421414937. Index, notes, abbreviations, b&w images sprinkled through text.
In this fascinating and thought-provoking history, Dr. Jeremy Greene recounts an untold number of failed attempts to deliver equivalent value in health care for a lower price and of the numerous controversies shadowing the success of generics: "problems, with the generalizability of medical knowledge, the fragile role of science in public policy, and the increasing role of industry, marketing, and consumer logics in late 20th century and early 21st century health care."
"The world generic suggests the ho-hum, the undistinguished, the easily forgotten," writes Greene in his Introduction. "A generic argument is one that is not novel. A generic product is not notceably different from its competitors. A generic response tells us something we already know. So too, we might expect, with generic drugs.
"Yet generic drugs have become objects of considerable interest. Over the past half century, generics have expanded from capturing less than 10 per cent of the drug market to providing more than 80 per cent of all prescriptions filled in the United States.
"As the research-based pharmaceutical industry continues to suffer through a 20-year crisis in innovation, with patents expring on blockbuster drugs and fewer drugs emerging from the research pipeline to replace them, it now confronts the prospect of increasingly generic firms such as Teva and Mylan, which were small local companies in the 1970s, have mushroomed into multinational global players in their own right, ranking in the top ten vendors of prescription drugs by volume in the U.S. market in 2010."
Author Dr. Jeremy Greene is an associate professor of medicine and the history of medicine and the Elizabeth Treide and A. McGehee Harvey Chair in the History of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The Darkest Days -- The Truth Behind Britain's Rush to War, 1914 by Douglas Newton, Verso '14, $34.95, 416 pages, ASIN #1781683506. Index, notes, unillustrated.
From the dust cover:
"The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War may be commemorated by some as a moment of national history. But the standard history of Britain's choice for war is far from the truth. Using a wide range of sources, including the personal papers of many of the key figures, some for the first time, historian Douglas Newton presents a new, dramatic narrative.
"He interleaves the story of those pressing for a choice for war with the story of those resisting Britain's descent into calamity. He shows how the decision to go to war was rushed, in the face of vehement opposition, in the Cabinet and Parliament, in the Liberal and Labour press, and in the streets. There was no dramatic decision for war."
Author Douglas Newton was the associate professor of history at the University of Western Sydney. He has written two previous books on British public policy. He lives in Australia.