Marcia Angell, M.D.
|Born||April 20, 1939|
|Occupation||Physician and author|
Marcia Angell, M.D. (born April 20, 1939 in Knoxville, TN) is an American physician, author, and the first woman to serve as editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. 
After completing undergraduate studies in chemistry and mathematics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Angell spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar studying microbiology in Frankfurt, Germany. After receiving her M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine in 1967, Angell trained in both internal medicine and anatomic pathology and is a board-certified pathologist.
Angell is a frequent contributor to both medical journals and the popular media on a wide range of topics, particularly medical ethics, health policy, the nature of medical evidence, the interface of medicine and the law, and end-of-life healthcare. Her book, Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant Case (1996) received critical acclaim. With Stanley Robbins and, later, Vinay Kumar, she coauthored the first three editions of the textbook Basic Pathology. She has written chapters in several books dealing with ethical issues in medicine and healthcare.
Angell is a member of the Association of American Physicians, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Medical Society, and is a Master of the American College of Physicians. She is also a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and is an outspoken critic of medical quackery and the promotion of alternative medicine.
New England Journal of Medicine tenure 
Angell joined the editorial staff of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 1979. She became Executive Editor in 1988, and served as interim Editor-in-Chief from 1999 until June 2000. The NEJM is the oldest continuously published medical journal, and one of the most prestigious; Angell is the first woman to have served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal since it was founded in 1812.
In 1999, Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D. resigned as NEJM's Editor-in-Chief following a dispute with the journal's publisher, the Massachusetts Medical Society, over the Society's plan to use the journal's name to brand and market other sources of healthcare information. Angell agreed to serve as interim Editor-in-Chief until a new editor could be found; she reached an agreement with the society that the Editor-in-Chief would have authority over usage of the journal's name and logo, and that the journal's name would not be used on other products. Angell retired from the journal in June 2000 and was replaced by Jeffrey Drazen, M.D.
Critic of U.S. healthcare system 
Angell has long been a critic of the U.S. healthcare system. The American healthcare system is in serious crisis, she stated in a PBS special: "If we had set out to design the worst system that we could imagine, we couldn't have imagined one as bad as we have." In the PBS interview, she urges the nation to scrap its failing healthcare system and start over:
|“||Our health care system is based on the premise that health care is a commodity like VCRs or computers and that it should be distributed according to the ability to pay in the same way that consumer goods are. That's not what health care should be. Health care is a need; it's not a commodity, and it should be distributed according to need. If you're very sick, you should have a lot of it. If you're not sick, you shouldn't have a lot of it. But this should be seen as a personal, individual need, not as a commodity to be distributed like other marketplace commodities. That is a fundamental mistake in the way this country, and only this country, looks at health care. And that market ideology is what has made the health care system so dreadful, so bad at what it does.||”|
Critic of the pharmaceutical industry 
Angell is a critic of the pharmaceutical industry. With Arnold S. Relman, she argues, "The few drugs that are truly innovative have usually been based on taxpayer-supported research done in nonprofit academic medical centers or at the National Institutes of Health. In fact, many drugs now sold by drug companies were licensed to them by academic medical centers or small biotechnology companies." The pharmaceutical industry estimates that each new drug costs them $800 million to develop and bring to market, but Angell and Relman estimate the cost to them is actually closer to $100 million. Angell is the author of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It.
Angell's position has been challenged by Benjamin Zycher, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who argues that although research funded by the government produces excellent basic science and even early (and unusable) versions of drugs, private investment and industrial skills are needed to produce practical products. For instance, developing mass production methods (for erythropoietin), and developing drugs without limiting adverse effects (for antidepressive drugs), selecting which drugs to test in clinical trials, and funded the clinical trials, are most commonly done by industry - not in basic research labs funded by the government. 
Thoughts on alternative medicine 
Marcia Angell is also a critic of the current categorization of alternative medicine. In a 1998 NEJM editorial she wrote with Jerome Kassirer, they argued:
- It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride... There cannot be two kinds of medicine — conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work. Once a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted.
Awards and honors 
- Basic Pathology 1st edition (1971, Robbins, Stanley Leonard; Angell, Marcia); 2nd ed. (1973, Robbins, S.L.; Angell, M.); 3rd ed. (1981, Robbins, S.L.; Angell, M. Kumar, Vinay)
- Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant Case. Norton. 1996. ISBN 9780393039733.
- The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It. Random. 2004. ISBN 9780375508462.
- Biographical Sketch of Marcia Angell, M.D., F.A.C.P at the Harvard Health Caucus. Accessed September 10, 2006.
- "Harvard Medical School Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Faculty Research Interests 2012-13". Retrieved Jan. 8, 2013.
- "Biography: Dr. Marcia Angell". National Library of Medicine. Retrieved Jan. 8, 2013.
- "About NEJM Past and Present". New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved Jan. 7, 2013.
- Hoey J (September 1999). "When journals are branded, editors get burnt: the ousting of Jerome Kassirer from the New England Journal of Medicine". CMAJ 161 (5): 529–30. PMC 1230583. PMID 10497610.
- Marcia Angell, "Are we in a health care crisis?" on PBS. Accessed September 10, 2006.
- Zycher, Benjamin (28 June 2008). "Drug Development Needs Private Industry". Wall Street Journal.
- Angell M, Kassirer JP (September 1998). "Alternative medicine—the risks of untested and unregulated remedies". N. Engl. J. Med. 339 (12): 839–41. doi:10.1056/NEJM199809173391210. PMID 9738094.
- "TIME's 25 Most Influential Americans". Time. 21 April 1997.
- Angell, Marcia (2 November 2007). The Truth About Drug Companies (Video, 52 min.). Health Sciences Learning Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- "Interview: Marcia Angell". The Alternative Fix. Frontline, PBS. 4 November 2003.
- Olson, Walter (11 November 1996). "Review of Marcia Angell, Science on Trial". National Review.
- "Interview: Marcia Angell". The Other Drug War. Frontline, PBS. 19 June 2003.
- Quotes by Marcia Angell
- Angell article archive from The New York Review of Books