The Medicine Men

Dr Vernon Coleman

My first book, published in 1975, was called The Medicine Men’. It was the first book to attack the pharmaceutical industry and to excoriate the medical establishment for its links with the drug industry.

Astonishingly, the book was very well received. The BBC made a 14 minute film, based on the book, for its evening news programme. `The Guardian’ newspaper serialised the book. Most other national newspapers reviewed it very favourably.

Here, for example, is what I wrote about the benzodiazepine drugs:

`The benzodiazepines such as Valium, Librium and Mogadon, are drugs which cause dependence too. A writer in the British Clinical Journal, discussing Valium and Librium wrote that 'sudden cessation of the drug creates acute feelings of apprehension and agitation accompanied by crawling sensation in the skin and nasal irritation.' (NOTE: I was editor of the British Clinical Journal at the time.)

`The Medicine Men’ has been out of print for several decades but a new edition is now available on Amazon. The book was the first to attack the drug industry and was widely and well-reviewed when it first appeared. The main stream media had not yet been `bought’ by the drug industry.

And here are a few quotes from some of the dozens of reviews which appeared when the book was published. (In those far off days the newspapers used to review my books – even when they criticised drug companies and the medical establishment.)

‘…what he says of the present is true: and it is the great merit of the book that he says it from the viewpoint of a practising general practitioner, who sees from the inside what is going on, and is appalled by the consequences to the profession and to the public.’

Brian Inglis, Punch 21.5.1975

’The Medicine Men’ by Dr Vernon Coleman, was the subject of a 14 minute ‘commercial’ on the BBC’s Nationwide television programme recently. Industry doctor and general practitioners come in for a severe drubbing: two down and several more to go because the targets for Dr Coleman’s pen are many, varied and to say the least, surprising. Take the physicians who carry out clinical trials: many of those, claims the author, have ‘sold themselves to the industry and agreed to do research for rewards of one kind or another, whether that reward be a trip abroad, a piece of equipment, a few dinners, a series of published papers or simply money.’

The Pharmaceutical Journal, May 17 1975

‘The Medicine Men’ is well worth reading.’

Times Educational Supplement 6.6.75

‘Vernon Coleman, aged 28, is not a mine of information – he is a fountain. It pours out of him, mixed with opinions which have an attractive common sense ring about them.’

Coventry Evening Telegraph 12.5.75

A reprint of `The Medicine Men’ is now available on Amazon.

Copyright Vernon Coleman July 2023