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Dangerous Doses: How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply Hardcover – May 9, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; First Edition edition (May 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151010501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151010509
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,111,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 America’s 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 Carlow’s 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 don’t 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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Remember this effects us in one way or another.
Miriam E. Gonzalez
This is a well researched book (really well) and uses easy to understand language.
Daniel Night
She exposes the way drugs are really distributed in the United States.
John Matlock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Katherine Eban, Dangerous Doses: How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply (Harcourt, 2005)

Have you ever taken a medication and felt no effect, or far less effect than you expected to have? Put it off to building up a tolerance? Yeah, me too. After reading this, however, I have to wonder.

The four-hundred-odd pages of Dangerous Doses fly by rather quickly for a piece of nonfiction; Eban takes you inside the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the South Florida interdepartmental task force aimed at bringing down those who would tamper with America's drug supply for personal gain. What I (and, I'm sure, many other readers) didn't expect, though, is just how much work the Horsemen had (and still have, in many cases, as of this writing) ahead of them. It would seem that counterfeit prescription medication is not a few isolated cases here and there we hear on the news, but a very, very big business that has reached its tendrils into most every state in the Union and affects untold billions of dollars' worth of merchandise. (The book's biggest shock, for me, came when one of the drugs mentioned is one I actually take.)

This is scary stuff. It's not just highly recommended because piece of nonfiction this readable are rare birds indeed, but because this is something you need to know about, especially if you or your family members take prescription drugs. Get it. Read it. ****
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Petri on August 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book was riveting and exposed the underbelly of the world of pharmaceutical drugs and criminal that have thrived in it. The book details counterfeiting of life sustaining prescription drugs, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, diversion and mishandling of sensitive drugs, and how they end up in the normal distribution network to arrive on the shelves of the nations drug stores.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sreeram Ramakrishnan VINE VOICE on July 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The author, with a background in medical investigative reporting, presents an interesting "story" whose main theme is that wholesale distribution of medicines has serious problems, counterfieting drugs, stealing-and-reselling drugs, to name a few. While the story is well researched, the narrative style of the book (almost like a Robin Cook medical thriller) is a little distracting to the main theme. While the "fictional narrative" approach can certianly keep the readers engaged, its sheer pace (compliment) in this context appears to mute the main points the author wants to make. Nevertheless, the book raises some serious concerns and provides a significant starting point for anyone interested in understanding issues related to the 'medical supply chains'. A good read.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book recounts in exacting detail the adulteration of the critical drugs needed by cancer and other critically ill patients, the result of a investigation by a group of dedicated Florida policemen and the author. This fact-driven, exhaustively researched, and beautifully written account is a compelling read, and one which (as an academic physician and cancer specialist) I found impeccable. It is an essential book for anyone for whom the integrity of our medications are important--which is everyone in this country.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If it's a medical investigative thriller - true life - which is needed, look no further than Katherine Eban's Dangerous Doses: How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply. Stolen, counterfeit and compromised medicines are making their way into a poorly regulated American distribution system, Eban maintains. Her exploration of investigations into drug counterfeiters makes for powerful first-hand reporting as she follows a team of dedicated investigators trying to stem the flow.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Weintraub on April 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a shocking, heartbreaking account of how one of our 'sacred cows'- the prescription drug industry- is really a corrupt breeding ground for low-end criminals and petty corruption. But at its core, and what makes the book such a great read, are the human stories- the stories of the victimized, and the stories of the five investigators who fight at all costs to expose what is happening. Well researched and highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on June 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
White collar rarely reaches the headlines in the United States, not enough flash and no blood to show up on the TV screen. White collar crime likewise gets less police or congressional attention. Even when, as in this case lives are at stake, there is usually little attention being paid at any level.

In this book, Ms. Eban, an investigative reporter specializing in the medical area reports on the rise in counterfeit drugs being sold through the traditional drug outlets such as hospitals, pharmacies and nursing homes. She exposes the way drugs are really distributed in the United States. What would at first appear to be a straight forward path from licensed manufacturer selling to licensed wholesalers, selling to licensed pharmacies turns out to be much more confusing than that. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of small companies involved with questionable licensing, inspection, quality control and some of these are definitely people you don't want handling the drugs your life depends on.

Ms. Eban points out the problems with the drug distribution channels (another of those where the companies see no need for governmental control as they are going to police themselves). She also reports on numerous cases where definite illegal activities including mis-labelling, counterfeiting, and theft have been involved, with the bad drugs then entering the legitimate distribution system. Ms. Eban estimates that as much as 1% of the drugs sold through pharmacies are tainted in some manner.

Another aspect I hope she investigates for her next book, I have seen estimates that half or more of the drugs ordered from Internet companies is really just sugar pills.
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