DANGEROUS DOSES: How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply

Katherine Eban, Author . Harcourt $25 (462p) ISBN 978-0-15-101050-9

It's hard to imagine that, with the U.S. government's oversight of the development and production of pharmaceuticals, the pills you get from your pharmacist may be counterfeit. But according to medical reporter Eban, those pills often pass through dozens of hands, exchanged in dark parking lots and the backrooms of strip clubs for thousands of dollars in cash, possibly resold and relabeled several times. It might contain a twentieth of the dosage written on the label, or nothing but tap water. Eban, formerly with the New York Times, follows a group of five investigators to reveal how pervasive a problem drug counterfeiting is in the U. S. Operation Stone Cold, as the South Florida investigation was called, comprised a hodgepodge of pharmacists and policemen who shared a fanatical devotion to stopping adulterated drugs from reaching the public, despite uninterested supervisors, understaffed regulatory agencies and state laws that made offenses almost impossible to prosecute. The book reads like a good novel, though the cast of villains is so dizzying and the timeline so complicated that the action is sometimes hard to follow. Unfortunately there is no happy ending—the fight to protect the domestic drug supply continues. If this book receives wide attention, it could deal another blow to an already reeling pharmaceutical industry and users of prescription drugs will be wary after reading it. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/14/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Paperback - 479 pages - 978-0-15-603085-4
Open Ebook - 480 pages - 978-0-547-53853-2
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