Dangerous Doses: A True Story of Cops, Counterfeiters, and the Contamination of America's Drug Supply

Overview

When counterfeit prescription medicine started turning up in the nation's supply and threatening some of the sickest and weakest patients, Katherine Eban went in search of the story. What she found was an unlikely and irresistible group of heroes-five aging South Florida investigators who dubbed themselves the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and held their meetings at Hooters. Working around the clock on cases no one else wanted to tackle, they followed the trail of stolen and contaminated medicine in a takedown ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$11.39
BN.com price
(Save 18%)$14.00 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (22) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $18.15   
  • Used (20) from $1.99   
Dangerous Doses: A True Story of Cops, Counterfeiters, and the Contamination of America's Drug Supply

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price
(Save 28%)$14.00 List Price

Overview

When counterfeit prescription medicine started turning up in the nation's supply and threatening some of the sickest and weakest patients, Katherine Eban went in search of the story. What she found was an unlikely and irresistible group of heroes-five aging South Florida investigators who dubbed themselves the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and held their meetings at Hooters. Working around the clock on cases no one else wanted to tackle, they followed the trail of stolen and contaminated medicine in a takedown eventually dubbed Operation Stone Cold. This riveting page-turner takes us along with the Horsemen as they wade into "more rank Florida unseemliness than a Carl Hiaasen novel" (Salon) to ultimately uncover $33 million in bad medicine and make more than sixty arrests.

Thanks in part to the attention Dangerous Doses received in hardcover, the media, politicians, and drug companies are starting to address the problems it uncovered. This new paperback edition includes a chapter with the latest update on these developments.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Newark Star-Ledger
Katherine Eban's expose on the poorly regulated prescription drug distribution system will have you calling your doctor to check your meds. To put it simply, she's done her homework on a terribly neglected system. "—Razor magazine
"In "Dangerous Doses," Katherine Eban showed how vulnerable America's drug supply is to counterfeiters. With such dangers lurking, it often seemed as if the real world trumped fiction this year
salon.com
An exposé that wades into more rank Florida unseemliness than a Carl Hiaasen novel, and easily boasts three times the number of sleazebag villains.
Washington Post Book World
Warning: Katherine Eban's Dangerous Doses can give you headaches, raise your blood pressure and provoke anxiety. In extreme cases, it can leave you staring at a bottle of medicine and wondering: What do these pills really contain? ... In her vibrant tale, Eban introduces us to these people and makes the message clear: It shouldn't happen to anyone, and it could happen to you."
Boston Globe
In a style reminiscent of some of the best detective storytellers, Eban takes us breathlessly through robberies, back-room deals, cluttered and dirty warehouses, crooked dealers, sociopathic profiteers, shell companies, and state and federal laws so porous that convicted felons can become prescription-drug brokers
New York Sun
A riveting tale. "Dangerous Doses" is part detective story, part pharmacological primer.
Buzz Bissinger
This is a book that comes along so rarely in non-fiction—brilliantly reported, written with the pace of a potboiler and harrowing in its societal repercussions. In Dangerous Doses, Katherine Eban takes us on a journey into the underbelly of the pharmaceutical industry so spooky and strange and sinister and deadly, you will have a hard time believing it is true. But it is, every word, which only makes Dangerous Doses shine even more.
Wayne Barrett
Katherine Eban has delivered a dangerous dose of truth about the drugs that keep Americans alive. Her "murder-she-wrote" dramatic narrative turns everyone's neighborhood drugstore into a possible crime scene."
US News and World Report - Bernadine Healy
A riveting account of a 2 1/2-year investigation in south Florida . . . . As Eban recounts, the scam was broken wide open by a 'ragtag' group of seasoned investigators who seem as if they were cast right out of an episode of The Wire."
The Nation - Victor Navasky
Katherine Eban combines investigative diligence, a natural story teller's gift for narrative, and a consumer advocate's practical prescriptions for what to do about the counterfeit drugs that may have contaminated the supply at your local drug store. The result: A rare literary event—muckraking with a human face.
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR DANGEROUS DOSES

"In a style reminiscent of some of the best detective storytellers, Eban takes us breathlessly through robberies, back-room deals, cluttered and dirty warehouses, crooked dealers, sociopathic profiteers, shell companies, and state and federal laws so porous that convicted felons can become prescription-drug brokers."—The Boston Globe

"A riveting account of a 2 1/2-year investigation in South Florida . . . As Eban recounts, the scam was broken wide open by a 'ragtag' group of seasoned investigators who seem as if they were cast right out of an episode of The Wire."—Bernadine Healy, U.S. News & World Report

From the Publisher

PRAISE FOR DANGEROUS DOSES

"In a style reminiscent of some of the best detective storytellers, Eban takes us breathlessly through robberies, back-room deals, cluttered and dirty warehouses, crooked dealers, sociopathic profiteers, shell companies, and state and federal laws so porous that convicted felons can become prescription-drug brokers."--The Boston Globe

"A riveting account of a 2 1/2-year investigation in South Florida . . . As Eban recounts, the scam was broken wide open by a 'ragtag' group of seasoned investigators who seem as if they were cast right out of an episode of The Wire."--Bernadine Healy, U.S. News & World Report

Boston Globe

In a style reminiscent of some of the best detective storytellers, Eban takes us breathlessly through robberies, back-room deals, cluttered and dirty warehouses, crooked dealers, sociopathic profiteers, shell companies, and state and federal laws so porous that convicted felons can become prescription-drug brokers
Newark Star-Ledger

Katherine Eban's expose on the poorly regulated prescription drug distribution system will have you calling your doctor to check your meds. To put it simply, she's done her homework on a terribly neglected system. " -- Razor magazine
"In "Dangerous Doses," Katherine Eban showed how vulnerable America's drug supply is to counterfeiters. With such dangers lurking, it often seemed as if the real world trumped fiction this year
Washington Post Book World

Warning: Katherine Eban's Dangerous Doses can give you headaches, raise your blood pressure and provoke anxiety. In extreme cases, it can leave you staring at a bottle of medicine and wondering: What do these pills really contain? ... In her vibrant tale, Eban introduces us to these people and makes the message clear: It shouldn't happen to anyone, and it could happen to you."
US News and World Report - Bernadine Healy

A riveting account of a 2 1/2-year investigation in south Florida . . . . As Eban recounts, the scam was broken wide open by a 'ragtag' group of seasoned investigators who seem as if they were cast right out of an episode of The Wire."
salon.com

An exposé that wades into more rank Florida unseemliness than a Carl Hiaasen novel, and easily boasts three times the number of sleazebag villains.
New York Sun

A riveting tale. "Dangerous Doses" is part detective story, part pharmacological primer.
Buzz Bissinger

This is a book that comes along so rarely in non-fiction—brilliantly reported, written with the pace of a potboiler and harrowing in its societal repercussions. In Dangerous Doses, Katherine Eban takes us on a journey into the underbelly of the pharmaceutical industry so spooky and strange and sinister and deadly, you will have a hard time believing it is true. But it is, every word, which only makes Dangerous Doses shine even more.
The Nation - Victor Navasky

Katherine Eban combines investigative diligence, a natural story teller's gift for narrative, and a consumer advocate's practical prescriptions for what to do about the counterfeit drugs that may have contaminated the supply at your local drug store. The result: A rare literary event -- muckraking with a human face.
Wayne Barrett

Katherine Eban has delivered a dangerous dose of truth about the drugs that keep Americans alive. Her "murder-she-wrote" dramatic narrative turns everyone's neighborhood drugstore into a possible crime scene."
Publishers Weekly
The book reads like a good novel....If this book receives wide attention, it could deal another blow to an already reeling pharmaceutical industry and users of prescription drugs will be wary after reading it.
Kirkus
An investigative journalist digs into the chilling story of how degraded, expired, contaminated and diluted medicines are being sold to American pharmacies and hospitals. The result is a story rich in distinctive characters whose actions range form courageous to outrageous. Vivid writing and impressive documentation in a powerful indictment of a system in need of immediate repair."
US News and World Report
A riveting account of a 2 1/2-year investigation in south Florida . . . . As Eban recounts, the scam was broken wide open by a ''ragtag'' group of seasoned investigators who seem as if they were cast right out of an episode of The Wire."
Bernadine Healy
The Nation
Katherine Eban combines investigative diligence, a natural story teller's gift for narrative, and a consumer advocate's practical prescriptions for what to do about the counterfeit drugs that may have contaminated the supply at your local drug store. The result: A rare literary event -- muckraking with a human face.
Victor Navasky, Publisher and Editorial Director
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156030854
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/1/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 504
  • Sales rank: 844,443
  • Product dimensions: 7.88 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

KATHERINE EBAN, an investigative medical reporter and Rhodes Scholar, has worked for the New York Times, New York, New York Observer, and ABC News. Her articles have appeared in the Nation, Playboy, the New Yorker, Self, Vogue, and Glamour. She lives in Brooklyn.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

1. A Victim of Success

January 2002
Miami, Florida

ABOARD A CRUISE SHIP TO COZUMEL, THE WEATHER SPARKLING and an Absolut and soda in hand, Marty Bradley stared at the Gulf of Mexico from inside a locked suite, his silent misery fed by thoughts of betrayal, financial ruin, and even physical danger.

He had brought sixty employees on the gleaming white ship for his company's annual blowout of dancing, gambling, and sunbathing, a reward for meeting their sales targets. But all Bradley could think of now was armed guards, locksmiths, and lie detector tests- and which of the employees on board had sold him out and gotten away with the score of their lives.

Just twenty-four hours ago, while he had been packing for the cruise, a white van had backed into an alleyway behind his Miami warehouse. Some men climbed from the van and managed to twist the dead bolt, tear off the rear metal door, and enter the warehouse around 8 P.M. Once inside, they knew exactly what to look for.

Shortly afterward, the distribution manager, René Perez, returned from his errand at Dadeland Mall and swung past the back alley as was his habit, partly because he was responsible for keeping it clear and partly because Bradley was his brother-in-law. Perez felt protective and viewed the business as a family affair.

Usually the narrow, dimly lit alley was empty. But tonight Perez saw the white van parked outside the warehouse, its motor running and its side door open. He turned and drove toward it along the dusty street. As he angled to park, a man in a long-sleeved T-shirt holding something in his hand ran from the warehouse and leapt into the van as it pulled out, tires screeching.

Perez followed, peeling down the alley behind the warehouse, almost crashing into a garbage dumpster as he struggled, unsuccessfully, to make out the license plate through the uneven street light. After about fifty yards the van barreled north onto another side street and disappeared into Miami's traffic-clogged arteries.

Stunned, Perez stopped and called Bradley at home to tell him about the burglary.

BRADLEY'S COMPANY, BIOMED PLUS, THE NATION'S LARGEST PRIvate wholesale distributor of blood products, sells fragile plasma derivatives and other specialty medicines to doctors' offices, hospitals, and even competing wholesale companies.

The thieves had headed directly for a freezer that contained blood products destined for patients with compromised immune systems, hemophilia, and other rare disorders. All told, they had taken 344 vials of clear liquids that for many patients meant the difference between life and death. Some of the vials cost almost $4,000 apiece. The heist was worth about $335,000.

What bothered Bradley most was not what they had taken but when. The break-in occurred just hours after the delivery of a shipment that included a rare formula called NovoSeven to help hemophiliacs form blood clots. The thieves had taken all of it. Bradley spent the next day- in the hours before boarding the cruise- hiring an armed security guard for $8,000 a month, repairing the damaged door, and installing new locks and metal gates for $150,000. He also arranged for several of his employees to take lie detector tests.

Then he reported the theft to the Bureau of Statewide Pharmaceutical Services, a regulatory requirement that was sure to solve nothing. The inspector he knew there, Cesar Arias, a tousled Cuban-American with a chipped front tooth whose heart was certainly in his job, had no juice whatsoever. One glance at the man's car, a dilapidated blue Buick that looked like it had been pulled off a junk heap, told the story of his agency's budget woes.

The local cops took a report, but they were too busy chasing cocaine and other street drugs to care much about a theft of clotting factor.

But Bradley knew the stolen vials posed a serious danger. The medicine inside was for critical care. It had to remain motionless at a constant temperature and could only be transported with careful planning. At best, it would become useless to a patient and at worst, might do harm. Bradley also worried that the men in the van would return. Or that next time they would come back armed when his employees were there.

Bradley shared these fears with two of his managers, who also stayed in their cabins during the cruise, drinking and avoiding the festivities. On the last day during the group photograph, the three men looked uneasy amid the smiling, well-tanned sales force.

Bradley was in the ship's cocktail lounge waiting to disembark when his cell phone rang. His purchasing manager, Marlene Caceras, was calling about a deal that had been offered in Bradley's absence. A small pharmaceutical wholesale company, the Stone Group, had called and sent faxes offering to sell some plasma derivatives. Bradley had done business with the fledgling company before.

The pharmaceutical wholesale market operates as an all-hours auction, with deals and discounts materializing suddenly and medicine passing through many hands. And while few patients know that these middlemen exist, much of the nation's medicine passes through companies like Bradley's BioMed Plus and the Stone Group. On this deal, the Stone Group had made a typical pitch.

But as Caceras read off the details of the offer, Bradley said, "I don't believe it." Everything she mentioned-including twenty-two vials of NovoSeven at 1.2 milligrams, another twenty-nine at 4.8 milligrams, along with specific amounts of Gammimune, Gammagard, and Iveegam, all for the steeply discounted price of $229,241-was identical to his list of stolen goods, right down to the specific quantities. The medicine was too rare and was almost never traded freely. Bradley knew the medicine was his.

Copyright © 2005 by Katherine Eban

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording,
or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address:
Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,
6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

A Note to Readers ix
Who's Who xi
Prologue 1

Part One
A Victim of Success 7
Flamingos in Missouri 11
Is Anything Okay? 19
The R Word 31
Medicine in the Laundry Room 42
The Cheshire Cat 56
One Man's Trash, Another Man's Treasure 67
A Cold Chain Gets Hot 87
Stealing Time 101

Part Two
"My Son Is Not a No One" 117
Two Streams Become One 128
The License Shrine 146
A Do-or-Die Cause 156
A Bad Lot 166
Rats in the State 179

Part Three
Crazy Money 195
A Special Price 206
The Guitar Story 221
"They're Going to Die Anyway" 232
They Know We Know 252
Inspector Arias Goes to Washington 267
Ultimate Box Case 283

Part Four
The Rosetta Stone 299
A Wink and a Nod in Las Vegas 312
The Education of Kevin Fagan 330

Epilogue 348
The Epogen Trail to Timothy Fagan 358
What You Can Do About
Counterfeit Drugs 361

Endnotes 363
Glossary 419
Interviews of Note 423
Acknowledgments 435
Index 439

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

1.A Victim of Success

January 2002
Miami, Florida

ABOARD A CRUISE SHIP TO COZUMEL, THE WEATHER SPARKLING and an Absolut and soda in hand, Marty Bradley stared at the Gulf of Mexico from inside a locked suite, his silent misery fed by thoughts of betrayal, financial ruin, and even physical danger.

He had brought sixty employees on the gleaming white ship for his company's annual blowout of dancing, gambling, and sunbathing, a reward for meeting their sales targets. But all Bradley could think of now was armed guards, locksmiths, and lie detector tests- and which of the employees on board had sold him out and gotten away with the score of their lives.

Just twenty-four hours ago, while he had been packing for the cruise, a white van had backed into an alleyway behind his Miami warehouse. Some men climbed from the van and managed to twist the dead bolt, tear off the rear metal door, and enter the warehouse around 8 P.M. Once inside, they knew exactly what to look for.

Shortly afterward, the distribution manager, René Perez, returned from his errand at Dadeland Mall and swung past the back alley as was his habit, partly because he was responsible for keeping it clear and partly because Bradley was his brother-in-law. Perez felt protective and viewed the business as a family affair.

Usually the narrow, dimly lit alley was empty. But tonight Perez saw the white van parked outside the warehouse, its motor running and its side door open. He turned and drove toward it along the dusty street. As he angled to park, a man in a long-sleeved T-shirt holding something in his hand ran from the warehouse and leapt into the van as it pulled out, tiresscreeching.

Perez followed, peeling down the alley behind the warehouse, almost crashing into a garbage dumpster as he struggled, unsuccessfully, to make out the license plate through the uneven street light. After about fifty yards the van barreled north onto another side street and disappeared into Miami's traffic-clogged arteries.

Stunned, Perez stopped and called Bradley at home to tell him about the burglary.



BRADLEY'S COMPANY, BIOMED PLUS, THE NATION'S LARGEST PRIvate wholesale distributor of blood products, sells fragile plasma derivatives and other specialty medicines to doctors' offices, hospitals, and even competing wholesale companies.

The thieves had headed directly for a freezer that contained blood products destined for patients with compromised immune systems, hemophilia, and other rare disorders. All told, they had taken 344 vials of clear liquids that for many patients meant the difference between life and death. Some of the vials cost almost $4,000 apiece. The heist was worth about $335,000.

What bothered Bradley most was not what they had taken but when. The break-in occurred just hours after the delivery of a shipment that included a rare formula called NovoSeven to help hemophiliacs form blood clots. The thieves had taken all of it. Bradley spent the next day- in the hours before boarding the cruise- hiring an armed security guard for $8,000 a month, repairing the damaged door, and installing new locks and metal gates for $150,000. He also arranged for several of his employees to take lie detector tests.

Then he reported the theft to the Bureau of Statewide Pharmaceutical Services, a regulatory requirement that was sure to solve nothing. The inspector he knew there, Cesar Arias, a tousled Cuban-American with a chipped front tooth whose heart was certainly in his job, had no juice whatsoever. One glance at the man's car, a dilapidated blue Buick that looked like it had been pulled off a junk heap, told the story of his agency's budget woes.

The local cops took a report, but they were too busy chasing cocaine and other street drugs to care much about a theft of clotting factor.

But Bradley knew the stolen vials posed a serious danger. The medicine inside was for critical care. It had to remain motionless at a constant temperature and could only be transported with careful planning. At best, it would become useless to a patient and at worst, might do harm. Bradley also worried that the men in the van would return. Or that next time they would come back armed when his employees were there.

Bradley shared these fears with two of his managers, who also stayed in their cabins during the cruise, drinking and avoiding the festivities. On the last day during the group photograph, the three men looked uneasy amid the smiling, well-tanned sales force.

Bradley was in the ship's cocktail lounge waiting to disembark when his cell phone rang. His purchasing manager, Marlene Caceras, was calling about a deal that had been offered in Bradley's absence. A small pharmaceutical wholesale company, the Stone Group, had called and sent faxes offering to sell some plasma derivatives. Bradley had done business with the fledgling company before.

The pharmaceutical wholesale market operates as an all-hours auction, with deals and discounts materializing suddenly and medicine passing through many hands. And while few patients know that these middlemen exist, much of the nation's medicine passes through companies like Bradley's BioMed Plus and the Stone Group. On this deal, the Stone Group had made a typical pitch.

But as Caceras read off the details of the offer, Bradley said, "I don't believe it." Everything she mentioned-including twenty-two vials of NovoSeven at 1.2 milligrams, another twenty-nine at 4.8 milligrams, along with specific amounts of Gammimune, Gammagard, and Iveegam, all for the steeply discounted price of $229,241-was identical to his list of stolen goods, right down to the specific quantities. The medicine was too rare and was almost never traded freely. Bradley knew the medicine was his.



Copyright © 2005 by Katherine Eban

All rights reserved.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)