Award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Gerald Posner traces the heroes and villains of the trillion-dollar-a-year pharmaceutical industry and uncovers how those once entrusted with improving life have often betrayed that ideal to corruption and reckless profiteering—with deadly consequences.
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.
Pharma introduces brilliant scientists, in-corruptible 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. Pharma reveals how and why American drug companies have put earnings ahead of patients.
“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
“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
“Explosively, even addictively, readable . . . Fraud, incompetence, conspiracy, avarice: it’s all here.” —Booklist (starred review)
“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
“Extensive, meticulous research . . . Posner leaves no stone unturned.” —Library Journal
“Posner has created a medical leviathan for our times.” —LitHub
PRAISE FOR GOD’S BANKERS
“A dogged reporter exhaustively pursues the nefarious enrichment of the Vatican, from the Borgias to Pope Francis. . . . A meticulous work that cracks wide open the Vatican’s legendary, enabling secrecy.” —Kirkus
“A fast-paced read that brings history alive on every page. The book will captivate those who prefer their historical nonfiction spiked with real-life tales of murder, power, and intrigue.”—Booklist
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 TheNew 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.
More About Gerald Posner
John Martin of ABC News says “Gerald Posner is one of the most resourceful investigators I have encountered in thirty years of journalism.” Garry Wills calls Posner “a superb investigative reporter,” while the Los Angeles Times dubs him “a classic-style investigative journalist.” “His work is painstakingly honest journalism” concluded The Washington Post. The New York Times lauded his “exhaustive research techniques” and The Boston Globe determined Posner is “an investigative journalist whose work is marked by his thorough and meticulous research.” “A resourceful investigator and skillful writer,” says The Dallas Morning News.
Posner was one of the youngest attorneys (23) ever hired by the Wall Street law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. A Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (1975), he was an Honors Graduate of Hastings Law School (1978), where he served as the Associate Executive Editor for the Law Review. Of counsel to the law firm he founded, Posner and Ferrara, he is now a full time journalist and author.
In the past, he was a freelance writer on investigative issues for several news magazines, and a regular contributor to NBC, the History Channel, CNN, FOX News, CBS, and MSNBC. A former member of the National Advisory Board of the National Writers Union, Posner is also a member of the Authors Guild, PEN, The Committee to Protect Journalists, and Phi Beta Kappa. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife, author, Trisha Posner, who works on all his projects (www.trishaposner.com).