Blood Medicine, formerly Blood Feud, is Kathleen Sharp’s superbly reported, breathtakingly true story of Big Pharma’s power, the terrifying vulnerability of innocent patients, and what it takes to stand up for what is right.
Called a “wonder drug,” this early biotech invention is a blood booster that spawned three lucrative brands: Procrit, Epogen and Aranesp. No one claimed the drugs would cure a disease. But they did give sick people more energy and stamina (and gave professional athletes an illegal boost). Pharma marketeers quickly expanded the approved use into unproven claims of more zest, sex, and “happiness.” It all sounded so good…..
Sales reps Mark Duxbury and Dean McClellan feel honored to be working for the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, selling Procrit. But soon, they’re told to perform schlocky “studies,” pay “fees” to doctors, and illegally increase drug dosages to build sales. When Mark protests, bad things start to happen. Dean, however, continues to climb the ladder…
Rivals at Amgen sell two other brands of the epo drug called Epogen and Aranesp; Aggressive J&J sales managers; weak corporate directors; well-meaning, albeit ham-strung regulators; and special-interest lawmakers…No one seems to be able to stop the mounting fraud or the patient deaths.
With $100 billion in sales, $60 billion in Medicare payouts, and no safe, proven benefits, Procrit and its cousin are still on the market – wasting our tax dollars. The justice system has stalled. When will Jan Schlichtmann, Duxbury’s attorney, win the case and retrieve desperately needed health-care funds?
“A blockbuster of a story, especially today with Medicare potentially on the chopping block.” – Kirkus Reviews
“A David-and-Goliath story about a whistleblower fighting a Big Pharma [that] reads like a thriller…Entertaining, but also informative…a useful addition to the bookshelf of every patient and family member dealing with cancer and dialysis.” – Saturday Evening Post
“…thoroughly researched and wildly successful…” – Boston Globe
“The book reads like a Robin Cook medical thriller and should be on every American’s bookshelf—particularly now as debates swirl around national health care …” – NY Journal of Books
“A page-turner, this alarming chronicle of profit-seeking in American medicine will appeal to all who are invested in the health care they receive or the drugs they’re prescribed.” – Library Journal
“Kathleen Sharp’s Blood Feud rivals Jonathan Harr’s A Civil Action for best non-fiction book of the past twenty years. In Sharp’s more-than-capable hands, this complex story of a justice-driven drug salesman going up against Big Pharma’s greed and deception is irresistible… (W)hatever you do, get your hands on this book and read it— Blood Feud is nothing short of simply great.” – John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author
“A great read. As our country examines how inappropriate health-care services contribute to the growing economic crisis, policy makers must learn from this alarming story.” – Dennis Cotter, President, Medical Technology and Practice Patterns Institute, Bethesda, Maryland
“Sharp launches us into a journey full of heroes, hustlers and corporate knaves. Weaving pharmaceutical history in a vivid style reminiscent of E.L. Doctorow and Arthur Miller, Blood Feud is a must-read to understand what we face everyday, hoping to stay alive. This should be required reading in all medical schools, a story that needs to be told.” – Andrew Davis Director of The Fugitive, Holes, and The Guardian.