It seems like a work of fiction: a David-and-Goliath story about a whistleblower fighting a Big Pharma company over a prescription drug. But the story, presented by Kathleen Sharp in Blood Feud: The Man Who Blew the Whistle on One of the Deadliest Prescription Drugs Ever, is true.
Mark Duxbury was a drug salesman for Johnson & Johnson company Ortho, tasked with selling the performance-enhancing drug Procrit as an alternative to blood transfusions. Duxbury’s belief in the drug, combined with his natural charm, allowed him to become one of the best Procrit salesmen in the country.
And that’s when things started to fall apart.
Sharp traces the story from the drug’s development in the 1980s and Duxbury’s early days at Ortho through Duxbury’s descent and his struggle to bring a lawsuit against the company for illegal selling practices and for encouraging non-FDA-approved uses of Procrit. Sharp continues the story through 2010, during which the lawsuit was still ongoing.
Though this compelling tale is a work of nonfiction, it reads like a thriller. Sharp’s exclusive rights to interviews with Duxbury and other key players allow her to give readers a thrilling look into the world of Big Pharma and whistleblowers. I particularly enjoyed the way Sharp tells not only the story of Duxbury’s time with the company but also the aftermath of the lawsuit and the way it shaped his personal life. Moreover, she thoroughly covers the histories of his friend and co-claimant, Dean McClellan, and their lawyer, Jan Schilchtmann, Esq.
Most importantly, the book isn’t just entertaining, but also informative. Sharp educates readers about the inner workings of pharmaceutical companies and medical practices, making this book a useful addition to the bookshelf of every patient and family member dealing with cancer and dialysis.
Blood Feud: The Man Who Blew the Whistle on One of the Deadliest Prescription Drugs Ever
by Kathleen Sharp is available now at an Amazon list price of $27.95.