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From an award-winning journalist, an explosive narrative investigation of the generic drug boom that reveals fraud and life-threatening dangers on a global scale—The Jungle for pharmaceuticals

Many have hailed the widespread use of generic drugs as one of the most important public-health developments of the twenty-first century. Today, almost 90 percent of our pharmaceutical market is comprised of generics, the majority of which are manufactured overseas. We have been reassured by our doctors, our pharmacists and our regulators that generic drugs are identical to their brand-name counterparts, just less expensive. But is this really true?

Katherine Eban’s Bottle of Lies exposes the deceit behind generic-drug manufacturing—and the attendant risks for global health. Drawing on exclusive accounts from whistleblowers and regulators, as well as thousands of pages of confidential FDA documents, Eban reveals an industry where fraud is rampant, companies routinely falsify data, and executives circumvent almost every principle of safe manufacturing to minimize cost and maximize profit, confident in their ability to fool inspectors. Meanwhile, patients unwittingly consume medicine with unpredictable and dangerous effects.

The story of generic drugs is truly global. It connects middle America to China, India, sub-Saharan Africa and Brazil, and represents the ultimate litmus test of globalization: what are the risks of moving drug manufacturing offshore, and are they worth the savings? 

A decade-long investigation with international sweep, high-stakes brinkmanship and big money at its core, Bottle of Lies reveals how the world’s greatest public-health innovation has become one of its most astonishing swindles.

Gewerbe und Technik
14. Mai


FaZant ,

Mandatory reading for physicians and pharmacists (and patients?).

As a recently retired physician in leading position at a large hospital, I was first confronted with generics many years ago. I could understand, that my patients were confused, because their familiar drugs suddenly had a diiferent name and appearance with each prescription. I could not understand, why they frequently complained about how the drugs worked or not and because of hitherto unknown side effects. My hospital pharmacist stated that this was impossible. Metoprolol was frequently mentioned. Then came the first generics for the immunosuppressive drugs I worked with. I first got informed by patients in the ward, asking me what happened to their familiar drugs. I only saw the problems I had with getting stable blood levels, again the hospital pharmacist assured me that all these drugs had been well tested and could be substituted one to one! I currently work as a locum in dialysis and nephrological units. When trying to write a prescription, I am confused by the long lists of choices that are all supposed to be the same drug. Recently a pharmacist told me, that it doesn’t matter what I prescribe. She will give the patient something different anyway (depending on several external factors, dictated by her computer). This book has made clear what has really been going on and it has confirmed my worst fears. Who ever still thinks that the patient comes first has another reason to stop dreaming.

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