Alison Bass


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Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and A Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial
Side Effects wins the NASW Science in Society Award. Here's an excerpt from the NASW announcement:

"In Side Effects, Alison Bass, an investigative journalist who has covered medicine, science, and technology for The Boston Globe and other publications, tells the story of how pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline systematically misled physicians and consumers about the safety and efficacy of Paxil, a popular antidepressant." It's a very complicated issue, and the author conveyed this like a mystery story," said one of the judges, noting that, "Her investigations led to changes in policy in many areas of public health, not only nationally but internationally."-- NASW News

"Bass's narrative bristles with data without fraying into tedium. Side Effects is long-form journalism at its best." -- The Washington Post

"Side Effects reads like a John Grisham thriller, but it teaches you everything you need to know about how some drug companies have used their marketing and legal muscle to lie about science."--The Carlat Psychiatry Blog

Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and A Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial tells the true story of a groundbreaking court case and the personal drama that surrounded the making and unmasking of a bestselling drug. It chronicles the lives of two women - a prosecutor and a whistleblower - who exposed the pattern of deception in the research and marketing of Paxil, an antidepressant prescribed to millions of children and adults.

Side Effects introduces us to a fabulous cast of characters: a feisty district attorney in the mold of Erin Brockevitch who takes on big pharma and wins; a courageous whistleblower whose own child suffers from mental illness; a controversial medical researcher being paid by the drug companies whose products he's testing; and of course the victims - those whose suffering was intensified by greed, negligence, and deception within the medical establishment.

Side Effects captures the anything - goes decade of drug development, as drugs like Prozac, Paxil and Vioxx became blockbuster drugs and pharmaceutical companies went to sometimes shocking lengths to reap profits. In telling the dramatic saga of the New York AG's lawsuit against one drug company, this book lays bare the longstanding complicity between medical researchers and the pharmaceutical industry - a collusion that places vulnerable children and adults at risk every single day.

With meticulous research, Alison Bass lays out the insidious connections between pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (the maker of Paxil), a top Ivy League research institution, and the government agency designed to protect the public.

 Why this story is so important: