Carl Elliott

Carl Elliott is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics and the author of Better Than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream.

Recent Articles

We'll Test It on Them

The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the World's Poorest Patients by Sonia Shah (The New Press, 242 pages, $24.95)

The Great Starvation Experiment: The Heroic Men Who Starved so that Millions Could Live by Todd Tucker (The Free Press, 288 pages, $26.00)

A Life of One's Own

The Ethics of Identity by Kwame Anthony Appiah (Princeton University Press, 384 pages, $29.95)

Many of us, when we pause to reflect on the larger questions, tend to think of our lives as vast projects that we are responsible for planning, organizing, and living out to completion. We often think, in fact, that a successful project must be one that we have tailored to ourselves as individuals. As John Stuart Mill put it, a person's “own mode of laying out his existence is the best, not because it is the best in itself, but because it is his own mode.”

Can't Swallow It Anymore

On the Take: How Medicine's Complicity With Big Business Can Endanger
Your Health

By Jerome P. Kassirer • Oxford University Press • 288 pages • $28.00

The $800 Million Pill: The Truth Behind the Cost of New Drugs

By Merrill Goozner • University of California Press • 297 pages • $24.95

Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs

By Jerry Avorn • Alfred A. Knopf • 448 pages • $27.50

Forever Young

Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion By Brian Alexander, Basic Books, 289 pages, $25.95

Merchants of Immortality: Chasing the Dream of Human Life Extension By Stephen S. Hall, Houghton Mifflin, 439 pages, $25.00

Pill Pushovers

The Big Fix: How the Pharmaceutical Industry Rips Off American Consumers by Katherine Greider, Public Affairs, 189 pages, $14.00

A couple of months ago, I was invited to give a presentation for the psychiatry department at another medical school. The topic was medical ethics, and I was planning to talk especially about the growing influence of the drug industry on psychiatry. Just as I was about to be introduced, the psychiatrist who had invited me leaned over and whispered, "Do you mind if I thank Janssen Pharmaceuticals for sponsoring your presentation?"