The master at arousing controversy in the world of health and medicine (Health Failure, 1989; Lifespan, 1993; etc.) is at it again, this time with the word on why there's no such thing as a safe drug. Moore knows how to get his message across: with memorable statistics (e.g., prescription drags are involved in 100,000 deaths a year, more than twice the death toll from auto accidents); with a plenitude of illustrative anecdotes, meant to chill the blood; and with well-documented supplementary research to back up his claims. He begins by looking closely at why, by their nature, the potent prescription drugs of modern medicine pose unpredictable and varied hazards. Moore primarily faults the FDA for inadequate long-term drug testing and poor monitoring of drug safety, but he also assigns blame to doctors themselves for too often prescribing inappropriate drugs and for not giving patients sufficient information about the potential adverse effects of medications. Consumers, too, can compound such commonplace problems if they aren't alert to the risks. Accordingly, the final portion of the book tells us how to protect ourselves. Moore explains some of the medical terms found printed on drug labels and guides readers in how to interpret various warnings. He also suggests appropriate diplomatic tactics to follow when talking with one's physician about remedies; included is a helpful list of questions to bring along. The book's main concern--that too little is known about how frequently prescription drugs cause trouble for patients--may come to seem a tad obvious. Yet one statistic here cited--that consumers have about a one-in-five chance of being treated with an unsuitable or dangerous drug--is, if accurate, genuinely disturbing. The key to improving the system, Moore says, is an informed, concerned, and even demanding public, which this book is designed to create. Vintage Moore--sharp, readable, persuasive.