About the Reporting for Bottle of Lies

A number of readers and listeners have asked in emails and on social media how I reported Bottle of Lies and who paid for that reporting. Below is an adapted version of information within the book.  

Bottle of Lies contains reporting I did over the course of ten years, across four continents and in more than 240 interviews. It includes material I gathered from 2008 to 2013, while reporting a series of articles about generic drugs in both Self and Fortune magazines.  

My work on the book specifically began in January 2014. Over the next five years, I reported in India, China, Ghana, England, Ireland, Mexico and throughout the United States. From 2008 on, I interviewed over 240 people, a number of them multiple times, including regulators, drug investigators, criminal investigators, diplomats, prosecutors, scientists, lawyers, public-health experts, doctors, patients, company executives, consultants, and whistleblowers.

In the course of reporting, I obtained a significant number of confidential documents. These include roughly 20,000 internal documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including emails, memorandum, meeting minutes, reports, and data; thousands of internal government records related to the investigation of the generic drug company Ranbaxy; and thousands of internal corporate records from several generic drug companies, including emails, reports, strategy documents, correspondence, and sealed court records.

Some of these documents were given to me by sources. Others I obtained through sixteen Freedom of Information Act requests that I filed with the FDA. At one point, I was compelled to sue the FDA to obtain calendar and meeting records for an FDA official. In addition to confidential documents, I also read through years of publicly available FDA inspection records.

I did not receive any industry funding for this book, nor did I accept any gifts or other forms of payment. Funding came only from impartial sources with no stake in the outcome of the events described. These include an advance from Ecco/HarperCollins and grants from the Carnegie Corporation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the City University of New York’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and the George Polk Foundation.

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