Book Review: White Coat Black Hat – Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine

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Author: Carl Elliott, MD
Publisher: Beacon Press
Book Publication: 2010

This book contains bad news. But, the good news is that it’s all written down and verifiable – all facts, no opinions. If you were recently given a drug prescription, this book is the first line of defence: read it before the trip to the pharmacy. In White Coat Black Hat, Carl Elliott, a doctor and professor of bioethics at the University of Minnesota, provides a guided tour through conventional medicine. Having researched this topic for more than a decade, I believed myself to be surprise- and disgust-proof, but no – Elliott’s book stunned me. In it, he presents incontrovertible evidence that drug and vaccine development, the clinical trials that bring them to market, the methods employed to hook doctor compliance, the professional publications justifying them, the expert “thought leaders,” the medical education system, the regulatory systems expected to work for the public interest, and even the diagnostic criteria themselves, all amount to one enormous lie.

Dr. David Healy (the psychiatrist who blew the whistle on Prozac, revealing its deadly toxicity and fraudulent origins) is quoted: “The fundamental issue is that the industry does not conform to the norms of science. They control the evidence completely … and all the major journals. They say, ‘This is what the drug does’, and people don’t even ask for the data, because they know they won’t be shown the data.”

Elliott explains that he came to research this cesspool of “fake science, fake researchers, fake trial subjects” after he interviewed a scientist who writes fake medical articles for the drug industry, and after he met a community of “professional research subjects (voluntary human drug-trial guinea pigs) who fake their medical histories to get into high-paying clinical studies, then fake painful side effects when they want to get out” or, worse, became permanently maimed and disabled because they themselves were lied to about the substances being tested on them. Elliott introduces the reader to the clinical trials first; once you understand the inherently science-challenged brutality of the trial process (nevermind the horrific animal experiments – Elliott discusses human subjects only), you learn all about “the ghosts.” They are not the spirits of those sacrificed in the service of science, but the writers with no responsibility to patients who produce those journal articles doctors read for guidance and which are published under the bylines of famous university professors willing to sell their names for the purpose.  Interestingly, the reps who then peddle their drugs using these articles as proof of efficacy and safety refer to these bought authors as “drug whores.” This is probably the only time that they tell the truth.

The next section takes the reader into the world of these drug reps, and more specifically, the gullibility and avarice of complicit doctors and medical associations. Then comes the chapter on “thought leaders” who make millions by doing Big Pharma’s bidding and undermining regulatory oversight in every which way – their greatest value to corporate-controlled medicine appears to be in maintaining sales of drugs for as long as possible, even after hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid out in fines. Even Dr. David Healy, who risked his career and personal safety when exposing Prozac and forcing all regulatory agencies to publish the stiffest possible warnings on it and similar antidepressants, was co-opted by drug reps. The Prozac manufacturer’s public relations executive actually came up to him and said, ‘Oh, you’re Dr. Healy.  I am so pleased to meet you. You’re doing more for sales of Prozac in this country than anyone else.”

White Coat Black Hat takes you through the world of drug marketing and the resistance of those who struggle to insist on facts and possibly even some truth. He ends with a story of how he himself was conned into providing the keynote address at a conference, which turned out to be a trap – a marketing ploy he did not see coming. The story is a stunner. Buy the book.

What to do now? Well, actually the answer is simple:  read the web version of “The Birth of a Star” posted on the Vitality website, about Dr. Gaby’s fabulous nutritional medicine textbook. Then consult the many resources provided in that article and in the web version of this review. The web version of this book review offers further hair-raising information published after Elliott’s book.

In addition, here are a few potentially life-saving pointers: 1) The World Health Organization has a List of Essential Drugs (Google); none are patented, all have decades of safe-use histories. If your prescription is not among them, think again. 2) Any drug prescribed that has not been on the market for at least 30 years is likely to be toxic and fraudulent, because it was designed to perform on the stock market. 3) Never allow yourself to be duped into taking an experimental drug: you didn’t win a lottery, no matter what dread disease you are told this “may” help. Instead, you may have just signed your death warrant. 4) Never, ever take a drug whose adverse events and toxicity information you did not research first. Also research its alternatives.

Conventional medicine no longer deserves our trust. If Big Pharma was selling cars, not one would pass safety standards. We are better advised to return to the horse and buggy, the side effect of which was just piles of nice, healthy manure, while pharmaceutical drugs, once they pass through our guts, poison the fish.

Additional reading suggested:

M. Angell, MD, The Truth about the Drug Companies, Random, 2004

A. Bass, Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial, Alconquin, 2008

H. Ferrie, Dispatches from the War Zone of Environmental Health, Kos, 2004 (free download from

H. Ferrie, What Part of No! Don’t They Understand? Kos 2008 (free download as above)

N. H. Gioldberg et al. Availability of Comperative Efficacy Data at the Time of Drug ASpproval in the United States, JAMA, 2011 vol. 305 (17)

M. Goozner, The $800 Million Pill, California University Press, 2005

J. Kassirer MD, On The Take – How Medicine’s Complicity with Big Business can endanger your Health, Oxford, 2005

I. Kirsch, The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, Basic Books, 2010

J. Moncrieff, The Myth of the Chemical Cure, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009

H. Nikolas et al. Availability of Comparative Efficacy at the Time of Drug Approval in the United States, JAMA, 305 (17), May 2011

G. Olsen, Confessions of an RxDrug Pusher, iUniverse, 2010

R. Pelton & J. LaValle, The Nutritional Cost of Drugs, Morton, 2004

M. Petersen, Our Daily Meds, Sarah Crichton Books, 2008

PLoS Medicine (online medical journal, free)

R. Smith, The Trouble with Medical Journals, Royal Society of Medicine Press, 2006

T. H. Young MP (Cons.), Death by Prescription, Key Porter, 2009

H. Waxman (US Senator), The Waxman Report – How Congress really Works, Twelve, 2009

Wakeforest University Baptist Medical Center, March 2, 2011 report: “Cardiovascular Disease: Polypill appears safe and accepted by physicians and patients in developing countries”

C. Purcell, Adverse reactions lead US patients to ask just how safe are antibiotics? The Ecologist, May 23, 2011

Report on OneClickGroup, May 24, 2011: “Drug regulators accused of risking patient safety by not publishing clinical trial data” on

N. Kusnetz, Reports detail more drug industry tries to medical societies, May 20, 2011, available on

Best Pills Worst Pills, Editor Dr. Sidney Wolfe, subscribe via

Total Wellness Newsletter by Dr. Sherry Rogers

P.S.! AstraZeneca now uses Disney characters to push antipsychotic drugs for children: Tigger represents “bipolar” behavior and Eeyore suffers from “depression”. Source Damian Mooney of Sovereign Independent at

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