An urgent, alarming work of health reporting that will make you question every drug in your medicine cabinet.

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BOTTLE OF LIES

THE INSIDE STORY OF THE GENERIC DRUG BOOM

An eye-opening exposé on generic drugs.

Given the greed of pharmaceutical companies, writes investigative journalist Eban (Dangerous Doses: How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply, 2005), cheap generics are essential to money-strapped consumers—and that just may be a death sentence. There are many players and levels in this excellent book, a solid mix of the history of generic drugs, whistleblower tale, and pharmaceutical detective story. The whistleblower in question is a young executive and systems engineer from India, lured home after being educated in the United States to work for a huge pharmacological concern that specializes in making generic drugs. There’s a fortune to be made there, Eban writes, especially for the first to market, who can enjoy a brief monopoly. The margins are further improved by eliminating key steps in the quality-control process—and then cooking the books when investigators from the Food and Drug Administration come to inspect. The executive in question sounded the alarm, his charge backed by on-the-ground evidence from an FDA investigator. However, he faced prosecution, not least on the part of the FDA and U.S. attorney Rod Rosenstein. “My reporting,” writes Eban early on, “led me into a web of global deception”—and, she makes clear throughout this long but tightly narrated book, that deception may well prove fatal to medical consumers. This is especially true in the developing world, she writes, for if substandard drugs are regularly shipped from plants in India, China, and elsewhere to the U.S. and Europe, the really ineffective, dangerous stuff is headed for markets in Africa, South America, and Asia: EpiPens, AIDS cocktails, cures that may turn out to be poisons. For all the efforts of that FDA inspector, writes the author, the new antiregulatory FDA now gives foreign companies advance warning of inspections, allowing the deception to grow and flourish as suspect drugs continue to roll in, "including a crucial chemotherapy drug for treating leukemia and breast and ovarian cancers.”

An urgent, alarming work of health reporting that will make you question every drug in your medicine cabinet.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-233878-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2019

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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