“Kill Shot: A Shadow Trade, a Lethal Illness,” by Jason Dearen (Avery)
Decrease again ache. Spinal stenosis. Cataracts. All these circumstances are handled with medicine manufactured by compounding pharmacies. And people medicine can blind or kill you, due largely to an nearly whole absence of regulatory oversight.
In his terrific however unnerving new ebook, “Kill Shot,” Related Press investigative reporter Jason Dearen explores the shadow trade of compounding pharmacies and varied unsuccessful efforts to rein it in. The story facilities on the New England Compounding Heart, which in 2012 produced mold-infested batches of an injectable steroid that killed greater than 100 folks and sickened almost 800 others throughout 20 states.
Finally, the lab in Framingham, Massachusetts, half an hour west of Boston, was shut down, and 13 folks, together with co-owner Barry Cadden and supervising pharmacist Glenn Chin, have been convicted of federal crimes. However as Dearen makes clear in his gripping, tautly written narrative, the issues posed by pharmacy compounding — which accounts for not less than 10% of the nation’s drug provide — are removed from over.
Counting on transcripts, interviews, FDA inspection reviews and different sources, he reconstructs this slow-moving tragedy in scenes of virtually cinematic depth. We meet the sympathetic victims, lots of them aged folks residing with power ache, who, after receiving the injections, died gradual, horrible deaths from fungal meningitis and its issues. We additionally meet the callous lab house owners, who got down to enrich themselves by reducing corners, hiring unqualified workers, operating a dirty operation and counting on payoffs to drum up enterprise.
And whereas some NECC workers have been finally held accountable, that they had a bunch of enablers. These included the lobbying group Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding; members of Congress, who accepted their marketing campaign contributions and killed significant reform; and the U.S. Supreme Court docket, which in 2002 struck down a bit of a legislation designed to present the FDA extra oversight.
Fortunately, there have been good guys as nicely: largely, the devoted docs and scientists in hospitals, state well being labs and federal companies, together with the FDA and CDC, who tracked the mysterious outbreak of lethal infections in actual time and restricted its scope by alerting the general public.
“Kill Shot” is popping out within the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has uncovered the general fragility of the U.S. well being care system. By calling consideration to only one side of it, Dearen has carried out an incredible public service.
He features a helpful guidelines of inquiries to ask prescribers about compounded medicine, however his takeaway is inescapable. Shoppers would do nicely to teach themselves about remedy choices and press for more durable rules. Their lives — and people of their family members — might rely upon it.