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Dispensing with the Truth: The Victims, the…

Dispensing with the Truth: The Victims, the Drug Companies, and the…

by Alicia Mundy

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This book will make you furious, and it will make you think twice (or three or four times) about the drugs you take, especially ones that have only recently been approved by the FDA. Alicia Mundy tells the story very well and has you on the edge of your seat much of the time. I'm not usually much of a one for stories of victims, lawyers, drug companies, and the FDA, but I couldn't put the book down. It reads like a thriller, and the information it contains is especially vital to anyone who has ever taken Fen-Phen. Even if you would never consider taking a diet drug, you need to learn how ineffectual the FDA has become in the face of the super-powerful drug companies. The drug companies involved knew about the serious health risks associated with these drugs and made every effort not to inform doctors and drug users about the potential dangers. Worse yet, they knew that the drug didn't work. And although they were recommending it for long-term use, they had tested it only for short-term use. This book will make you angry, and given that nearly five times as many people have died from the Fen-Phen debacle as from faulty Firestone tires, we should be angry--angry enough to get Congress to put some teeth back in the FDA so that this sort of tragedy never happens again. ( )
  MaryRW | Sep 13, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312253249, Hardcover)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:31 -0400)

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