The Hard Sell

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‘A pacey crime caper set against the backdrop of the opioid crisis . . . When I tell you that reading The Hard Sell is like watching a Scorsese film, you will assume I am exaggerating. Pick it up and tell me I’m wrong.' - Patrick Radden Keefe, The New York Times

In the early 2000s, John Kapoor had already amassed a small fortune in pharmaceuticals when he founded Insys Therapeutics. A boom time for painkillers, he had developed a novel formulation of fentanyl, the most potent opioid on the market.

Kapoor, a brilliant scientist with relentless business instincts, was eager to make the most of his innovation. But there was a problem: the drug was a niche product, approved only for cancer patients in dire condition. So he recruited an avaricious team, who employed a variety of deceptive techniques, such as zeroing in on suspect doctors, falsifying patient records and deceiving insurance companies. Insys became a Wall Street sensation. That is, until insiders reached their breaking point and blew the whistle, sparking a sprawling investigation in the government’s fight to hold the drug industry accountable in the spread of addictive opioids.

With colourful characters and true suspense, The Hard Sell lays bare the pharma playbook. Evan Hughes offers a bracing look not just at Insys, but at how opioids are sold at the point they first enter the national bloodstream – in the doctor’s office.

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ISBN: 9781035009701
Publication date:
19 January 2023
Trade Paperback
Pages: 288