Physicians' Desk Reference, 55th edition

Reviewed by J.B. Orenstein

Published January 23, 2001 8:00PM (EST)

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While it is fine to rate a reference book on its merits, this article made the drug companies sound as if they were part of some big scam in their submission of data to the PDR. The PDR doesn't purport to be anything other than what it is. Using the word "marketing" is specious. If anyone is doing the marketing, it is the booksellers who are selling it. Years ago, it wasn't even possible for the layman to get a copy, so it is a relatively new phenomenon for the PDR to be available on a mass scale.

It's fine to recommend a book that is more geared toward the consumer, but it is not fine to imply that somehow the drug companies are up to no good with their inclusion of the drugs' package inserts (which is the purpose of the tome to start with).

-- Lawrence Sacks, M.D.

In response to the article by J.B. Orenstein on the PDR, I should like to clarify that the PDR does not contain information on all drugs approved by the FDA. There is a fee for manufacturers to be included in the PDR, and not all manufacturers provide information for the PDR.

The USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) provides data for an annual publication titled "Advice for the Patient," published by Micromedex, which gives drug information in lay language as a part of the series on Drug Information.

-- Catherine MacLeod

Librarians know the difference between the PDR and the Complete Drug Reference. This is why the world needs librarians, to tell the rest of us not only where to find the information, but also to let us know where the information is coming from and whether it can be trusted or not.

-- Brooke Elson

By Salon Staff

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