Of the many well-documented horror stories associated with the U.S. Healthcare System, none are more shocking and hard to believe than that exposed by investigative reporter Katherine Eban in Dangerous Doses: How Counterfeiters are Contaminating Americas Drug Supply. By riding shotgun with a small group of investigators in South Florida who refer to themselves as "The Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse," Eban outlines in chilling detail a vast system of criminality underpinning the wholesale trade of prescription drugs throughout the country. The Horsemen are a committed and colorful cast of characters not even the best crime novelist could create, who are hopelessly underpaid, rarely sleep, receive little respect, and face bureaucratic obstacles at every turn as they fight to keep tainted drugs out of hospitals and off pharmacy shelves. Their chief target is Michael Carlow, a flamboyant ex-con turned pharmaceutical wholesaler who has amassed millions through the sale of both stolen and fake prescription drugs. The more evidence the Horsemen uncover about Carlows network of shell companies, phony labeling techniques, Medicare scams, and other tricks of the trade, the more deadly the picture becomes. By the end, you dont only want to see Carlow and his associates behind bars, but the entire pharmaceutical industry put on trial. You also want to give a copy of Dangerous Doses to everyone you know, as it is not just a great page turner but an important book that demands the widest possible audience. --Patrick Jennings
From Publishers Weekly
It's hard to imagine that, with the U.S. government's oversight of the development and production of pharmaceuticals, the pills you get from your pharmacist may be counterfeit. But according to medical reporter Eban, those pills often pass through dozens of hands, exchanged in dark parking lots and the backrooms of strip clubs for thousands of dollars in cash, possibly resold and relabeled several times. It might contain a twentieth of the dosage written on the label, or nothing but tap water. Eban, formerly with the New York Times, follows a group of five investigators to reveal how pervasive a problem drug counterfeiting is in the U. S. Operation Stone Cold, as the South Florida investigation was called, comprised a hodgepodge of pharmacists and policemen who shared a fanatical devotion to stopping adulterated drugs from reaching the public, despite uninterested supervisors, understaffed regulatory agencies and state laws that made offenses almost impossible to prosecute. The book reads like a good novel, though the cast of villains is so dizzying and the timeline so complicated that the action is sometimes hard to follow. Unfortunately there is no happy ending—the fight to protect the domestic drug supply continues. If this book receives wide attention, it could deal another blow to an already reeling pharmaceutical industry and users of prescription drugs will be wary after reading it. (May)
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