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The Drug Hunters Audiobook

The Drug Hunters: The Improbable Quest to Discover New Medicines

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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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  • ilkka
    Turku, Finland
    12/07/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "History of modern pharmacology"

    Very interesting and relevant!

    A a physician I use (on my patients) all of the drugs that this book covers. The book also covers pretty much all of the drug families. Should've read this much earlier.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Barb
    05/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating"

    A very interesting book for anybody interested in medicine or pharmacy.
    It turns out we are lucky a modern medicine can successfully treat so many diseases, since discovering medicines is still and has been, despite all the science advances, a lot of luck and serendipity.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    23/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Emily Cramer
    10/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Makes me glad I live in the 21st century"

    This is a great read for others like me who harbor a failed but absurdly optimistic scientist inside him or herself. This book highlights the immense luck involved with discovering and refining seeds of promise to produce true medical breakthroughs.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    24/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyed it very much"

    Great book. Was much better than I expected with a ton if interesting stories and info. Want to listen to it again just in case I missed anything.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Curmud the prof
    20/05/17
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    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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