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Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Pharmaceutical Companies Use Fiction to Deter Canadian Drugs

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA decided to pay an author to pen a novel that potrays dangers from the re-importation of drugs from Canada.  The LA Times reports,

According to the proposal, PhRMA would pay Phoenix a six-figure sum for the marketing and production of a written-to-order fictional thriller. The plotline was what Hollywood would term high-concept — a group of shadowy terrorists conspires to murder thousands of Americans by poisoning the medicine they're importing from Canada to beat U.S. drug prices. (Think "True Lies" meets the Physicians Desk Reference.)

If this scenario sounds familiar, it's because PhRMA has tried to scare state legislatures and Congress out of giving Americans access to cheap Canadian drugs by warning that terrorists might poison the imports.

Viner duly hired an author, Julie Chrystyn, who in turn enlisted a friend, Kenin Spivak, to help with the writing. Spivak, 48, has an interesting resume: Over the years he has worked at Merrill Lynch, held top executive positions at MGM/UA and Premiere Radio Networks and invested with Michael Milken. Since 1998 he has been chairman and chief executive of Los Angeles-based Telemac Corp., which licenses billing and accounting programs to wireless network operators.

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