33 books like The Billion-Dollar Molecule

By Barry Werth,

Here are 33 books that The Billion-Dollar Molecule fans have personally recommended if you like The Billion-Dollar Molecule. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Malignant: How Bad Policy and Bad Evidence Harm People with Cancer

Frank S. David Author Of The Pharmagellan Guide to Analyzing Biotech Clinical Trials

From my list on prescription drug discovery and developed.

Why am I passionate about this?

Frank S. David, MD, PhD leads the biopharma consulting firm Pharmagellan, where he advises drug companies and investors on R&D and business strategy. He is also an academic researcher on strategy, regulation, and policy in the drug industry; a member of the Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science; and a former blogger at Forbes.com.

Frank's book list on prescription drug discovery and developed

Frank S. David Why did Frank love this book?

Since Nixon’s "War on Cancer," oncology treatment has seen some great advances, but also the approval of scores of over-priced drugs that do little to improve patients’ quality or quantity of life. Oncologist Vinay Prasad has written a broad, accessible overview of the flaws of modern cancer drug development that spans clinical trial design, conflicts of interest, regulatory policy, and more. His unabashedly anti-pharma stance gets preachy in places, but most of the challenges he identifies are spot-on and provide a thought-provoking roadmap for the future.

By Vinayak K. Prasad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Malignant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How hype, money, and bias can mislead the public into thinking that many worthless or unproven treatments are effective.

Each week, people read about new and exciting cancer drugs. Some of these drugs are truly transformative, offering major improvements in how long patients live or how they feel-but what is often missing from the popular narrative is that, far too often, these new drugs have marginal or minimal benefits. Some are even harmful. In Malignant, hematologist-oncologist Dr. Vinayak K. Prasad writes about the many sobering examples of how patients are too often failed by cancer policy and by how oncology…


Book cover of The Great American Drug Deal: A New Prescription for Innovative and Affordable Medicines

Frank S. David Author Of The Pharmagellan Guide to Analyzing Biotech Clinical Trials

From my list on prescription drug discovery and developed.

Why am I passionate about this?

Frank S. David, MD, PhD leads the biopharma consulting firm Pharmagellan, where he advises drug companies and investors on R&D and business strategy. He is also an academic researcher on strategy, regulation, and policy in the drug industry; a member of the Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science; and a former blogger at Forbes.com.

Frank's book list on prescription drug discovery and developed

Frank S. David Why did Frank love this book?

What do we mean when we say “drug prices are too high” – and how can we fix them? In clear prose, Peter Kolchinsky, a successful biotech investor at RA Capital, clarifies the difference between list, net, and out-of-pocket drug costs, and explains how various parts of the system – drug companies, insurers, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) – fit together to determine them. He also includes several detailed and timely suggestions for reform that would reduce the burden on patients and sustain biopharma innovation.

By Peter Kolchinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Great American Drug Deal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Developing life-changing drugs is risky and expensive—but that’s not what makes them unaffordable.Drug pricing is a staple of every news cycle and political debate. And while we’ve struggled for decades to agree on solutions that serve all patients without jeopardizing the invention of new medicines, many Americans suffer because they can’t afford the drugs they need.Do we really have to choose between affordability and innovation?In The Great American Drug Deal, scientist and industry expert Peter Kolchinsky answers this question with a decisive No. The pharmaceutical industry’s commitment to creating new lifesaving drugs destined to become inexpensive generics can be balanced…


Book cover of The Right Price: A Value-Based Prescription for Drug Costs

Frank S. David Author Of The Pharmagellan Guide to Analyzing Biotech Clinical Trials

From my list on prescription drug discovery and developed.

Why am I passionate about this?

Frank S. David, MD, PhD leads the biopharma consulting firm Pharmagellan, where he advises drug companies and investors on R&D and business strategy. He is also an academic researcher on strategy, regulation, and policy in the drug industry; a member of the Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science; and a former blogger at Forbes.com.

Frank's book list on prescription drug discovery and developed

Frank S. David Why did Frank love this book?

A key issue about drug pricing not covered in Kolchinsky's book relates to value: even if a new therapy is affordable, is it "worth it"? Health economist Peter Neumann and his colleagues have written an authoritative, insightful, and extremely accessible history of efforts to align drugs' prices with their benefits to patients and society. This is a must-read guide for both insiders and non-experts to a topic that will be at the forefront of the drug pricing debate in the coming decade. 

By Peter J. Neumann, Joshua T. Cohen, Daniel A. Ollendorf

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Right Price as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The US prescription drug business is a $500 billion industry whose rising prices carry profound consequences for patients, caregivers, employers and taxpayers across the nation. In the United States, average prices of leading brand-name drugs are two to four times higher than prices charged in other wealthy countries, raising questions as to what Americans are getting for the extra expense. On the other hand, healthy industry returns have arguably fueled life-saving
innovation. With the advent of ever more targeted and powerful treatments, including cell- and gene-based therapies with multi-million-dollar price tags, the need for sensible drug pricing policies will only…


Book cover of Pills, Power, and Policy: The Struggle for Drug Reform in Cold War America and Its Consequences

Peter A. Swenson Author Of Disorder: A History of Reform, Reaction, and Money in American Medicine

From my list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my younger days, as the son of a medical professor and a public health nurse, I was more interested in healing society than patients. But my political interests and research agenda as a professor of political science ultimately led back to medicine. I found that profit-maximizing market competition in health care failed miserably to promote value in therapeutics and economize on society’s scarce resources. I became aware of the neglect of public health to prevent disease for vulnerable groups in society and save money as well as lives. Pervasive and enduring economic conflicts of interest in the medical-industrial complex bear primary responsibility for severe deficits in quality, equality, and economy in American health care.

Peter's book list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals

Peter A. Swenson Why did Peter love this book?

I found, as a history buff, The Struggle for Drug Reform to be an eye-opener about how America’s exceptionally high drug prices among other deficits in health care quality and coverage resulted from the past exercise of power by the pharmaceutical industry, the lynchpin of America’s “medico-industrial complex.”

I was impressed by historian Tobbell’s meticulously researched account of the industry’s strategic alliances with self-interested medical scientists, not just conservative political forces, and its use of anti-communist propaganda to fight off the threat of drug pricing regulations.

I personally found important her discussions of how the industry allied with the American Medical Association against universal health care, against FDA demands for evidence about drug efficacy and safety before allowing drugs on the market, and against the threat to its profits from generic drugs. 

By Dominique Tobbell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pills, Power, and Policy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since the 1950s, the American pharmaceutical industry has been heavily criticized for its profit levels, the high cost of prescription drugs, drug safety problems, and more, yet it has, together with the medical profession, staunchly and successfully opposed regulation. "Pills, Power, and Policy" offers a lucid history of how the American drug industry and key sectors of the medical profession came to be allies against pharmaceutical reform. It details the political strategies they have used to influence public opinion, shape legislative reform, and define the regulatory environment of prescription drugs. Untangling the complex relationships between drug companies, physicians, and academic…


Book cover of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It

Peter A. Swenson Author Of Disorder: A History of Reform, Reaction, and Money in American Medicine

From my list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my younger days, as the son of a medical professor and a public health nurse, I was more interested in healing society than patients. But my political interests and research agenda as a professor of political science ultimately led back to medicine. I found that profit-maximizing market competition in health care failed miserably to promote value in therapeutics and economize on society’s scarce resources. I became aware of the neglect of public health to prevent disease for vulnerable groups in society and save money as well as lives. Pervasive and enduring economic conflicts of interest in the medical-industrial complex bear primary responsibility for severe deficits in quality, equality, and economy in American health care.

Peter's book list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals

Peter A. Swenson Why did Peter love this book?

I find Angell’s The Truth About the Drug Companies extremely valuable for teaching students about how the pharmaceutical industry translates high profits into power resources to protect and increase those profits over time.

The former New England Journal of Medicine editor exposed how drug companies enlist politicians, the FDA, and medical academia for their cause. And armies of lawyers to extend monopoly marketing rights for years.

It was my first introduction to how they spend more on marketing than research, much of that on “copy-cat” drugs of dubious superiority to ones with expired patents.

As a tax (and high drug price) payer, I was disturbed to learn how they use government funds for basic research and then rig and spin their reporting of clinical studies to inflate their products’ therapeutic value and underplay their risks. 

By Marcia Angell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Truth About the Drug Companies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During her two decades at The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell had a front-row seat on the appalling spectacle of the pharmaceutical industry. She watched drug companies stray from their original mission of discovering and manufacturing useful drugs and instead become vast marketing machines with unprecedented control over their own fortunes. She saw them gain nearly limitless influence over medical research, education, and how doctors do their jobs. She sympathized as the American public, particularly the elderly, struggled and increasingly failed to meet spiraling prescription drug prices. Now, in this bold, hard-hitting new book, Dr. Angell exposes…


Book cover of Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

Philip Mirowski Author Of The Knowledge We Have Lost in Information: The History of Information in Modern Economics

From my list on the politics of science.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an economist who came to realize that the marketplace of ideas was a political doctrine, and not an empirical description of how we came to know what we think we know. Science has never functioned in the same manner across centuries; it was only during my lifetime that it became recast as a subset of market reality. I have spent a fair amount of effort exploring how economics sought to attain the status of a science; but now the tables have turned. It is now scientists who are trained to become first and foremost market actors, finally elevating the political dominance of the economists.

Philip's book list on the politics of science

Philip Mirowski Why did Philip love this book?

A best-seller in the UK, it never garnered the attention it deserved in the US. As a trained physician, Goldacre explains why doctors cannot trust the information concerning prescription drugs that is made available to them, and why this should concern every patient. The incentives motivating drug regulators constitute a big part of the problem, but the actual conduct of clinical trials comes in for intensive scrutiny as well. The rigors of double-blinded trials are useless if owners of the data can hide whatever outcomes they don’t like. His chapter on how to bend a clinical trial has become a classic.

By Ben Goldacre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bad Pharma as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Smart, funny, clear, unflinching: Ben Goldacre is my hero." ―Mary Roach, author of Stiff, Spook, and Bonk

We like to imagine that medicine is based on evidence and the results of fair testing and clinical trials. In reality, those tests and trials are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors who write prescriptions for everything from antidepressants to cancer drugs to heart medication are familiar with the research literature about these drugs, when in reality much of the research is hidden from them by drug companies. We like to imagine that doctors are impartially educated, when in reality…


Book cover of Kill Shot: A Shadow Industry, a Deadly Disease

Brandy Schillace Author Of Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey's Head, the Pope's Neuroscientist, and the Quest to Transplant the Soul

From my list on peculiar nonfiction from an expert on weird history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am peculiar. Really. I’m an autistic, non-binary, PhD historian who writes weird non-fiction books—and I read them, too. Among my friends are folks like Mary Roach (Fuzz, Stiff, Bonk, Gulp), Deborah Blum (Poisoner’s Handbook), and Ed Yong (I contain Multitudes, An Immense World). Yet, despite there being so many amazing books about strange facts, it's still hard to find them in one place. Your average bookstore doesn’t have a “peculiar” section, for some reason. That’s why I started my Peculiar Book Club YouTube show: I wanted there to be a home for authors and readers of the quirky, quizzical, curious, and bizarre. And then I thought, hey, why not make a book list, too.

Brandy's book list on peculiar nonfiction from an expert on weird history

Brandy Schillace Why did Brandy love this book?

Two pharmacists sit in a Boston courtroom accused of murder. The weapon: a fungus. The death count: 100 and rising. These facts set the stage for a true-crime thriller by investigative journalist Jason Dearen, and it has the makings of a horror movie. There’s scientific hubris, sketchy ethics, a cover-up, and a monster, too: a slimy, sticky, fungal mold that infected patients and began eating their brains alive. It’s riveting, packed with information about how fungal spores managed to contaminate a medical supply chain, and frankly hard to put down. I have done my share of forensic research, and never have I encountered killer fungus before; I consider this an unmissable book.

By Jason Dearen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kill Shot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An award-winning investigative journalist's horrifying true crime story of America's deadliest drug contamination outbreak and the greed and deception that fueled it.

Two pharmacists sit in a Boston courtroom accused of murder. The weapon: the fungus Exserohilum rostratum. The death count: 100 and rising. Kill Shot is the story of their hubris and fraud, discovered by a team of medical detectives who raced against the clock to hunt the killers and the fungal meningitis they'd unleashed.

"Bloodthirsty" is how doctors described the fungal microbe that contaminated thousands of drug vials produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Though NECC…


Book cover of Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It

Peter A. Swenson Author Of Disorder: A History of Reform, Reaction, and Money in American Medicine

From my list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my younger days, as the son of a medical professor and a public health nurse, I was more interested in healing society than patients. But my political interests and research agenda as a professor of political science ultimately led back to medicine. I found that profit-maximizing market competition in health care failed miserably to promote value in therapeutics and economize on society’s scarce resources. I became aware of the neglect of public health to prevent disease for vulnerable groups in society and save money as well as lives. Pervasive and enduring economic conflicts of interest in the medical-industrial complex bear primary responsibility for severe deficits in quality, equality, and economy in American health care.

Peter's book list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals

Peter A. Swenson Why did Peter love this book?

If you think that medical journals published by respected medical societies are full of good science, think again.

For me, Abramson’s Sickening nailed the case for a conclusion that the net effect of the many hundreds of medical journals published here and around the world is to subtract from the sum of human medical knowledge.

Abramson, as an expert witness in criminal and civil cases against drug companies, draws in part on subpoenaed documents to expose how medical science, as part of the entire medical-industrial complex, is corrupted from start to finish by the drug industry’s funding of most clinical trials, their control over the data analysis, and even their ghost-writing of articles submitted to journals.

New and disturbing was the withholding of clinical trials’ raw data from journals’ peer reviewers. Instead, they get biased summaries bearing drug manufacturers’ fingerprints.

By John Abramson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sickening as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inside story of how Big Pharma’s relentless pursuit of ever-higher profits corrupts medical knowledge—misleading doctors, misdirecting American health care, and harming our health.

The United States spends an excess $1.5 trillion annually on health care compared to other wealthy countries—yet the amount of time that Americans live in good health ranks a lowly 68th in the world. At the heart of the problem is Big Pharma, which funds most clinical trials and therefore controls the research agenda, withholds the real data from those trials as corporate secrets, and shapes most of the information relied upon by health care professionals.…


Book cover of Five Feet Apart

Madi Lalor Author Of The Way We Were Before

From my list on warming your romantic heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been in love with the idea of love. I didn’t know what that feeling was like for a long time–not being in love myself–so I grew attached to fictionalised worlds that brought those ideas to life. I’ve always been the person who smiles at a meet-cute or feels that warm, fuzzy feeling inside when the couple you’ve been rooting for the last two hundred pages finally kisses. I want them to know how exciting it can be to feel loved and experience that through the creation of stories. This is why romance is, and likely always will be, a huge thematic influence on all forms of my work. 

Madi's book list on warming your romantic heart

Madi Lalor Why did Madi love this book?

A gut-wrenching but provokingly beautiful story that highlights an illness that isn’t spoken much about in fiction.

The relationship between Stella and Will is such a heartbreakingly warming story that gives the reader a new-found understanding of how cystic fibrosis can impact an individual's life. I enjoy reading stories involving new, important conversations that need to be had, especially on topics we don’t often see in novels.

I think it’s important for writing to help spread awareness. It’s something that I myself want to do more in my own work. 

By Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Five Feet Apart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Also a major motion picture starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson!
Goodreads Choice Winner, Best Young Adult Fiction of 2019

In this #1 New York Times bestselling novel that’s perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, two teens fall in love with just one minor complication—they can’t get within a few feet of each other without risking their lives.

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At…


Book cover of Six of Crows

Jali Henry Author Of Cursed Charm

From my list on addictive urban fantasy with strong female leads.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an avid reader as a child. Then I became a teenager and started hating it! Why? Because the teachers at school started pushing classical literature on me. I didn’t read for years until a friend introduced me to fantasy. I fell in love and haven’t looked back. I love commercial fantasy fiction that has lots of action, where the writer focuses less on elegant prose and more on plot and characters. I aim to write the kind of books that readers get addicted to, where they can disappear into another world and forget they are reading – the kind of books I love to read!

Jali's book list on addictive urban fantasy with strong female leads

Jali Henry Why did Jali love this book?

The main thing I loved was Leigh Bardugo’s writing. She has a way of being elegant yet succinct with her writing which makes it easier for me to get lost in the intricate world she creates. And what a world she creates!

I fell in love with all the characters in this book. They had deep flaws and the vulnerability made me love them so much – it made them so real. There’s a powerful female lead in Nina, a passionate, voluptuous grisha (type of witch) who loves food, making her immediately relatable. The plot had me hooked and I didn’t want the book to end.

By Leigh Bardugo,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Six of Crows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

*See the Grishaverse come to life on screen with Shadow and Bone, now a Netflix original series.*

Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017, this fantasy epic from the No. 1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the Grisha trilogy is gripping, sweeping and memorable - perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Laini Taylor and Kristin Cashore.

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams - but he can't pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in medications, the pharmaceutical industry, and New York State?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about medications, the pharmaceutical industry, and New York State.

Medications Explore 26 books about medications
The Pharmaceutical Industry Explore 12 books about the pharmaceutical industry
New York State Explore 706 books about New York State