Dispensing with the Truth: The Victims, the Drug Companies, and the Dramatic Story Behind the Battle Over Fen-Phen

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Macmillan, May 11, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 402 pages
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Semi-finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award

In 1996, a terrible epidemic began killing young American women. Some died quickly, literally dropping in their steps. Others took more time, from a few months to a few years. Those who weren't killed suffered damage to their lungs and hearts, much of it permanent and reparable only with major surgery. Doctors suspected what the killer was. So did the Food and Drug Administration. The culprits were the two most popular diet drugs in the United States, Pondimin, one-half of the popular drug combination Fen-Phen, and Redux, a stronger version of Pondimin. They were also two of the most profitable drugs on the market, and both were produced and sold by a powerful pharmaceutical company, Wyeth-Ayerst, a division of American Home Products.

Dispensing the Truth is the gripping storry of what the drug really knew about its drugs, the ways it kept this information from the public, doctors, and FDA, and the massive legal battles that ensued as victims and their attorneys searched for the truth behind the debacle.

It tells the story of a healthy young woman, Mary Linnen, who took the drugs for only twenty-three days to lose weight before her wedding, and then died in the arms of her fiance a few months later. Hers was the first wrongful-death suit filed amd would become the most important single suit the company would ever face.

Alicia Mundy provides a shocking and thoroughly riveting narrative. It is a stark look at the consequences of greed and a cautionary tale for the future.

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User Review  - MaryRW - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Alicia Mundy is the Washington Bureau Chief for Mediaweek and a contributing editor at Washingtonian magazine. Her feature stories have appeared in US News and World Report, GQ, Philadelphia Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Mundy is the winner of several journalism awards for commentary and investigative reporting. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

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