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Publisher's Summary

The search to find medicines is as old as disease, which is to say as old as the human race. Through serendipity - by chewing, brewing, and snorting - some Neolithic souls discovered opium, alcohol, snakeroot, juniper, frankincense, and other helpful substances. Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,000-year-old hunter frozen in the Italian Alps, was found to have whipworms in his intestines and Bronze Age medicine, a worm-killing birch fungus, knotted to his leggings. Nowadays Big Pharma conglomerates spend billions of dollars on state-of-the art laboratories staffed by PhDs to discover blockbuster drugs. Yet despite our best efforts to engineer cures, luck, trial and error, risk, and ingenuity are still fundamental to medical discovery.
The Drug Hunters is a colorful, fact-filled narrative history of the search for new medicines from our Neolithic forebears to the professionals of today and from quinine and aspirin to Viagra, Prozac, and Lipitor.
©2017 Donald R. Kirsch and Ogi Ogas (P)2017 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"A lively and sweeping look at the history of drug discovery and how difficult, expensive, and pivotal the search has proven to be." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Curmud the prof on 05-20-17

Aargh!

As a pharmacologist myself I found the book contained some interesting back stories on the discovery and development of certain drugs. The mechanisms described were simplistic to a fault in some cases. But the pronunciation of many, perhaps most of the drug and chemical names, was awful. For this and similar books we need readers with a background - or extensive tutoring in the field - so that a lay person will hear the big words properly.

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93 of 99 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 04-23-17

Absolutely fascinating

I loved this book! It tells the stories of how different medications came to exist - a compelling mix of history, science, politics, and sociology. Good narrator. I highly recommend this book.

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21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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