How two giant pharmaceutical companies defrauded the public, flouted government regulations and ignored patient safety in their cutthroat competition.

In this hard-hitting exposé, investigative journalist Sharp (Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood: Edie and Lew Wasserman and Their Entertainment Empire, 2004, etc.) tells the shocking story of how Amgen and Johnson & Johnson partnered to commercially develop a seemingly miraculous anti-anemia drug that would reduce the need for blood transfusions. They conspired to push the drug through the FDA's licensing process without establishing FDA-mandated safety standards while battling ferociously between themselves for market share—secretly selling the product at steep discounts, fraudulently encouraging customers to bill Medicare at full price and using various under-the-table means to give kickbacks to doctors who prescribed the drug. Although the original license specified the drug's use for patients suffering kidney failure, J&J encouraged its use for cancer patients in therapy and started a marketing campaign to encourage doctors to raise the prescribed dosage. Mounting evidence of dangerous side-effects—blood-clotting, rampant spread of cancers and the sudden death of professional athletes who used the drug to enhance their stamina—were disregarded. Sharp artfully weaves in the riveting story of a high-flying salesman at J&J who feared he would be scapegoated for the criminal activities mandated by his bosses. Once rewarded with lavish holidays and other perks, he experienced the dark side of the American Dream when he was fired and blackballed, but he decided to fight back and become a whistle blower. The author unveils how the FDA's regulatory process has been systematically defanged beginning in the mid-1990s when direct TV advertising to the public was allowed. Since then, funding for the agency has decreased and corruption has flourished. A blockbuster of a story, especially today with Medicare potentially on the chopping block.


Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-525-95240-4

Page Count: 434

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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