The Hard Sell
Soon to be the Netflix film Pain Hustlers starring Emily Blunt
‘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 approved only for cancer patients in dire condition. So he recruited an avaricious team, who employed a variety of deceptive techniques, from falsifying patient records to 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 . . .
'This is that rare story of the opioid crisis in which the bad guys face a genuine reckoning. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. A tour de force.'
Patrick Radden Keefe
'A fast-paced and maddening account . . . What’s most surprising and powerful about The Hard Sell is not one company’s criminality . . . as much as how institutionalized these practices were across the modern drug industry.'
New York Times Book Review
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
The New York Times