(Katherine Eban Finkelstein)
PERSONAL: Married Ken Levenson (an architect). Education: Attended Brown University, 1988; attended St. John's College, Oxford, 1989.
CAREER: Investigative and medical journalist. Former reporter for New York Times, New York, New York Observer, and ABC News. Freelance journalist; work featured on nationally televised news programs, including 60 Minutes and 20/20.
AWARDS, HONORS: Recipient of grants, including Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Fund for Investigative Journalism.
Dangerous Doses: How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply (nonfiction), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2005.
Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Nation, New Yorker, New Republic, Self, Vogue, and Playboy.
SIDELIGHTS: An investigative journalist, Katherine Eban turned her attention to the drug trade in her first book-length work, Dangerous Doses: How Counter-feiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply. However, in Eban's work it is not cocaine or heroin that present the danger, but doctored, watered-down, and spoiled pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs. As Eban told Jason Zasky for Failure Online: "Before I started investigating this issue I assumed that our drugs came directly from drug makers' loading docks to our pharmacies. I didn't know that these middlemen existed and I would say that most people don't. For years we have been buying stolen, recycled, adulterated, substandard medicine from our pharmacies. Who knew?" The middlemen Eban referred to are a hidden part of the drug market, many of them formerly involved in the illegal drug trade: convicted felons who found pharmaceuticals an easier and safer operating niche. The drugs they wholesale to legitimate distributors are often adulterated to increase their profits and then sold to an unsuspecting public as full-strength. The higher-priced and more essential the drug, the more middlemen such a product draws; thus AIDS drugs and organ transplant medicines are particularly popular for such traffickers, and subsequent manipulation of these drugs put the end users at high risk. Eban investigated this shadowy world through the efforts of a team of South Florida police and drug inspectors called the Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse and their Operation: Stone Cold, an attempt at tracking the purveyors of stolen and degraded prescription drugs.
Reviewers found Eban's nonfiction work to be as full of plot twists as a piece of fiction. Writing in Salon.com, Katharine Mieszkowski called Eban's debut book "an exposé that wades into more rank Florida unseemliness than a Carl Hiaasen novel, and easily boasts three times the number of sleazebag villains." Similarly, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly felt that "the book reads like a good novel." Tina Neville, writing in Library Journal, noted that because of the paucity of literature on this subject, Dangerous Doses "will make a valuable addition to any library." A Kirkus Reviews critic concluded with a call to action: "Vivid writing and impressive documentation in a powerful indictment of a system in need of immediate repair."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Business Wire, May 20, 2005, "Katherine Eban, Author of Dangerous Doses, to Discuss How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply at TRAX 2005, IIR's Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Summit."
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2005, review of Dangerous Doses: How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply, p. 329.
Library Journal, June 15, 2005, Tina Neville, review of Dangerous Doses, p. 90.
Publishers Weekly, March 14, 2005, review of Dangerous Doses, p. 54.
U.S. News and World Report, May 16, 2005, Bernadine P. Healy, "Mean-Street Medicine," review of Dangerous Doses, p. 56.
Dangerous Doses Web site, http://www.dangerousdoses.com/ (September 18, 2005).
Failure Online, http://www.failuremag.com/ (September 18, 2005), Jason Zasky, "A Prescription for Trouble."
Hill Online, http://www.thehill.com/ (September 18, 2005), Jeffrey Young, "New Book Adds Fuel to the Debate over Drug Safety."
Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/ (September 18, 2005), Katharine Mieszkowski, "Drugstore Cowboys," review of Dangerous Doses.