Award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Gerald Posner reveals the heroes and villains of the trillion-dollar-a-year pharmaceutical industry and delivers “a withering and encyclopedic indictment of a drug industry that often seems to prioritize profits over patients (The New York Times Book Review).
Pharmaceutical breakthroughs such as antibiotics and vaccines rank among some of the greatest advancements in human history. Yet exorbitant prices for life-saving drugs, safety recalls affecting tens of millions of Americans, and soaring rates of addiction and overdose on prescription opioids have caused many to lose faith in drug companies. Now, Americans are demanding a national reckoning with a monolithic industry.
“Gerald’s dogged reporting, sets Pharma apart from all books on this subject” (The Washington Standard) as we are introduced to brilliant scientists, incorruptible government regulators, and brave whistleblowers facing off against company executives often blinded by greed. A business that profits from treating ills can create far deadlier problems than it cures. Addictive products are part of the industry’s DNA, from the days when corner drugstores sold morphine, heroin, and cocaine, to the past two decades of dangerously overprescribed opioids.
Pharma also uncovers the real story of the Sacklers, the family that became one of America’s wealthiest from the success of OxyContin, their blockbuster narcotic painkiller at the center of the opioid crisis. Relying on thousands of pages of government and corporate archives, dozens of hours of interviews with insiders, and previously classified FBI files, Posner exposes the secrets of the Sacklers’ rise to power—revelations that have long been buried under a byzantine web of interlocking companies with ever-changing names and hidden owners. The unexpected twists and turns of the Sackler family saga are told against the startling chronicle of a powerful industry that sits at the intersection of public health and profits. “Explosively, even addictively, readable” (Booklist, starred review), Pharma reveals how and why American drug companies have put earnings ahead of patients.
About the Author
Gerald Posner is an award-winning journalist who has written twelve books, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist Case Closed and multiple national bestsellers. His 2015 book, God’s Bankers, a two-hundred-year history of the finances of the Vatican, was an acclaimed New York Times bestseller. Posner has written for many national magazines and papers, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Newsweek, and Time, and he has been a regular contributor to NBC, the History Channel, CNN, CBS, MSNBC, and FOX News. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife, author Trisha Posner.
“A withering and encyclopedic indictment of a drug industry that often seems to prioritize profits over patients . . . Pharma reads like a pharmaceutical version of cops and robbers." —New York Times Book Review
“New information, coupled with Gerald’s dogged reporting, sets Pharma apart from all books on this subject.” —The Washington Standard
“Gerald Posner’s unsettling book, five years in the making and buttressed by a trove of documentation, is not only a careful history, it’s also a staggering indictment of pharmaceutical companies. . . . Very readable.” —Christian Science Monitor
“Compelling and enraging . . . An encyclopedic act of reporting.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Explosively, even addictively, readable . . . Fraud, incompetence, conspiracy, avarice: it’s all here.” —Booklist (starred review)
“You know the old saying: Timing is everything. That is certainly the case with Gerald Posner . . . . The timing of Pharma is extraordinary.” —Dallas Morning News
"I could not put down Gerald Posner’s Pharma, the definitive story of how one family, the Sacklers, set out to get exquisitely rich on the back of unsuspecting Americans—then blamed the so-called 'abusers' instead of their own highly addictive drug. Posner has unearthed important new material that illuminates our national tragedy, crafting a meticulously reported page-turner that is as juicy as it is clear-eyed." —Beth Macy, New York Times bestselling author of Dopesick
"A shocking, rousing condemnation of an industry clearly in need of better policing." —Kirkus
"Posner has created a medical leviathan for our times." —LitHub