A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial
By Alison Bass
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Hardcover, 9781565125537, 260pp.)
Publication Date: June 2008
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In "Side Effects" we meet a courageous Ivy League university employee who risked her job to expose suspicious practices at her lab, a feisty assistant attorney general who spearheaded an unprecedented lawsuit against a pharmaceutical giant, plus the medical researchers who were being paid by the drug companies whose products they were testing. And Bass introduces us to the vulnerable children and adults placed at risk because of greed, corruption, and negligence.
Though pediatric prescriptions of Paxil--at the time one of the world's bestselling antidepressants--were soaring, there was no hard proof that the drug performed any better than sugar pills in children and adolescents. Bass reveals how data from drug trials and the suicide risk the drug posed were withheld, allowing GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, to mislead physicians and consumers about the safety and efficacy of the drug.
When the New York State attorney general's office brought its lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline for consumer fraud, it launched a tidal wave of protest. As a result of this case, drug companies agreed to publish negative results from their research studies. A congressional investigation into industry practices finally prompted the FDA to mandate strict warnings for allantidepressants.
In the tradition of "A Civil Action," "Side Effects" goes behind the scenes of the headline-making case that forced the government to start protecting its citizens. It lays bare the unhealthy state of our country's pharmaceutical industry.
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org