Dispensing with the Truth

The Victims, the Drug Companies, and the Dramatic Story Behind the Battle over Fen-Phen

Alicia Mundy,

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

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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