Escape from the Pharma Drug Cartel: My Life as a Member of the Pharmaceutical Drug Cartel
Outskirts Press (2007)
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (8/08)
Kimberly Cheryl’s “Escape from the Pharma Drug Cartel” is a sobering book. The author worked in pharmaceutical sales for nearly two decades and during her career she’s seen it all. In this book she also reveals it all – from the incredible amounts of money spent on advertising and marketing – which happens to be way more than the industry spends on development and research, to the unjust and unfair way the reps are treated when something bad happens to them. In the fast-paced and cut-throat corporate world of today, the pharmaceutical sales field seems to be the lowest of the low. Having been able to see the health care field from both sides – as a provider and as a patient, Cheryl focuses on many issues that we face every day and gives an intelligent assessment of what is wrong with the American health care in general.
Cheryl’s corporate career has been extremely successful for the longest time. She had it all, until one tiny moment of bad luck. When an accident left her in pain, she continued working, even at the risk of injuring herself further. But not even that was enough and she eventually got fired by the company she worked for, in spite of still achieving high sales and excellent results. That’s when she faced the reality so many other Americans face every day – uninsured, with an uninsurable husband (due to his Crohn’s disease), facing bills and unpaid taxes… Looking back at her career, she takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the convoluted pathways of new drugs marketing and sales. Most any question the reader has ever had about the way things work in this field, starting from why certain drugs get prescribed so often, even when they have not been tested enough and/or have well known harmful side effects, has been answered, oftentimes supported with hard data and names.
While there is no denying that Cheryl is still bitter over what could be seen as total betrayal by her former employers, there is no doubt that she turned that bitterness to good use. Exposing the oftentimes ugly truth of the “Pharma Drug Cartel” should have more people asking the right questions and it will hopefully bring some positive changes into the available health care options.
While Kimberly Cheryl never gets too technical in her writing, she comes across as competent and believable in “Escape from the Pharma Drug Cartel.” My only wish is that she would have invested in having the book professionally edited, which would have helped weed out some rather amusing typos and errors like (luggage caracole, Chrone’s disease, the streets were stripped bear…). Other than that, I found this book an eye-opening and very worthwhile read. I just wish those in power would take the time to read it too and do something about the abysmal situation so many Americans are put in today when it comes to health care.