Dispensing with the Truth: The Victims, the Drug Companies, and the Dramatic Story Behind the Battle over Fen-Phen

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9780312253240: Dispensing with the Truth: The Victims, the Drug Companies, and the Dramatic Story Behind the Battle over Fen-Phen

Semi-finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award

In 1996, a terrible epidemic began killing young American women. Some died quickly, literally dropping in their steps. Others took more time, from a few months to a few years. Those who weren't killed suffered damage to their lungs and hearts, much of it permanent and reparable only with major surgery. Doctors suspected what the killer was. So did the Food and Drug Administration. The culprits were the two most popular diet drugs in the United States, Pondimin, one-half of the popular drug combination Fen-Phen, and Redux, a stronger version of Pondimin. They were also two of the most profitable drugs on the market, and both were produced and sold by a powerful pharmaceutical company, Wyeth-Ayerst, a division of American Home Products.

Dispensing the Truth is the gripping storry of what the drug really knew about its drugs, the ways it kept this information from the public, doctors, and FDA, and the massive legal battles that ensued as victims and their attorneys searched for the truth behind the debacle.

It tells the story of a healthy young woman, Mary Linnen, who took the drugs for only twenty-three days to lose weight before her wedding, and then died in the arms of her fiance a few months later. Hers was the first wrongful-death suit filed amd would become the most important single suit the company would ever face.

Alicia Mundy provides a shocking and thoroughly riveting narrative. It is a stark look at the consequences of greed and a cautionary tale for the future.

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Review :

Mary Linnen, 29, was determined to lose 25 pounds before her wedding. In May 1996, her doctor prescribed a combination of drugs known as Fen-Phen. When Linnen complained of dizziness and shortness of breath 23 days after starting the medications, her doctor told her to stop the drugs--but didn't examine her or order tests. Linnen got better for a time, then the shortness of breath and exhaustion returned worse than ever. Her legs and stomach swelled. She collapsed at work. Six months after taking Fen-Phen, Linnen was admitted to the emergency room with primary pulmonary hypertension: the capillaries that sent oxygen to her lungs had thickened and were closing, suffocating her. Her survival expectation after heart surgery was less than four years. Hooked up to a tube in her chest to prevent heart failure, she died three months later.

Dispensing with the Truth: The Battle over Fen-Phen tells the story of the legal battle against the pharmaceutical companies after Fen-Phen's users started dying--some, like Linnen, of primary pulmonary hypertension; others of heart valve damage. Investigative reporter Alicia Mundy weaves a dramatic tale from the development of the drugs to FDA approval to the final litigation. How much did the pharmaceutical companies know about the risks long before most of the deaths? Plenty, according to the evidence Mundy reveals. Although at times the book seems overfilled with details that slow down the drama, if you want the complete, behind-the-scenes story of one of the most famous "profits over protection" cases, this book tells all. --Joan Price

About the Author :

Alicia Mundy is the Washington Bureau Chief for Mediaweek and a contributing editor at Washingtonian magazine. Her feature stories have appeared in US News and World Report, GQ, Philadelphia Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Mundy is the winner of several journalism awards for commentary and investigative reporting. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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