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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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Performance


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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.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • Maria
    10/09/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "loved it!"

    Absolutely loved it. This is the type of books I enjoy - non-fiction, storytelling, history of science and discovery outlined in an easy-to-absorb manner, a series of cases (each curious, and all illustrating the changes in drug development over ~150 years).

    17 of 20 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.

    13 of 14 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.

    14 of 15 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.

    12 of 13 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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Milton Carl
    Seattle
    20/10/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting"

    Great stories, but organized as a treatise defending big pharma and the high cost of drugs due to the serendipitous nature of finding new ones. The stories are really good stories, and I enjoyed how they were told. I am not convinced that costs are justified. It looks to me that the business is run by non-scientific minds, stands in the way of innovation, chucks wrenches at it until it doesn't work very well, and then says, "look how LONG it takes to bring anything to market, we need to make tons of money on everything we find". That said, I will listening to it again to nail some of the details into my brain. :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gillian
    Austin, TX, United States
    17/10/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I Wanted To Love This--"

    Really, I did. Anything that smacks of history? And then you add scientific sleuthing with sociology? It should've been a slam-dunk!
    Alas, it needed editing. I realize that it wasn't even 8 hours, but it actually goes on and on here, way too in-depth there. I found my mind wandering.
    There's plenty here that should be interesting: biology, genetics, medicinal mishaps causing death, a history of how the Pill came to be and how fraught it all was at the time. And it is indeed interesting to a certain point. I just wish there was more sleuthing involved.
    Worth most of the time you'll spend on it, but I'm sorry I used a whole credit on it.

    26 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • Anne Lubout
    14/09/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The world of pharmacological innovation"

    a History of how drugs common drugs were developed and new how new ones are discovered.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Patricia Ferrer
    Delray Beach, Florida USA
    31/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "makes one appreciate the med we have available"

    storytelling of the medication we take for granted. a must read for anyone in the medical professional.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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