Adverse Reactions: The Fenoterol Story

Neil Pearce

‘This is a great book, by a passionate scientist who, against almost insurmountable opposition, helped expose the dangers of fenoterol.’ – Evan J. Begg, NZ Medical Journal


Dramatic and topical, Adverse Reactions tells the story of the fenoterol controversy, a major medical scandal some 15 years ago involving the asthma drug fenoterol, which was causing an epidemic of asthma deaths.

Author Neil Pearce was one of the researchers who discovered, in hostile and often stressful circumstances, that fenoterol was the cause of this dreadful epidemic. In Adverse Reactions: The Fenoterol Story, Pearce tells the story of this discovery from a personal perspective but it is one that raises many serious issues about drug safety internationally and about the contest between money and science in medical research.

Adverse Reactions makes gripping reading and, while the epidemic occurred in New Zealand, its consequences and the detective story of the discovery of the cause of those deaths attracted wide international attention.



Neil Pearce, professor and director of the Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington, has made pioneering contributions to the development, acceptance and practical application of epidemiology and is widely regarded as one the world’s most broadly based epidemiologists. He has written fourteen books on the epidemiology of cancer, asthma and occupational health including two leading textbooks on occupational epidemiology and on asthma.


March 2007, 215 x 140 mm, 232 pages, illustrations
Ebook, $45