... a tightly focused and insightful account of how a company that went public in the most successful IPO of 2013 soon ended up a poster child for corporate greed and chicanery, a firm so corrupt that prosecutors brought it to heel using federal statutes created to fight the Mafia ... Marbled throughout The Hard Sell are vivid portraits of key executive ... If there’s one element that gets relatively short shrift, it’s the patients who got addicted to Subsys. Although no one contends that the painkiller played remotely as big a role in the opioid crisis as OxyContin, I wanted to read more about people who took it for aches that had nothing to do with cancer and got hooked ... Still, as a gripping tale of one drug firm’s unscrupulous efforts to profit from pain, The Hard Sell is hard to beat.
... fast-paced and maddening ... what’s most surprising and powerful about The Hard Sell is not one company’s criminality — we’ve grown inured to corporations behaving badly — as much as how institutionalized these practices were across the modern drug industry ... My one big complaint about The Hard Sell is that it’s unclear how much damage Subsys did in the context of the broader opioid epidemic. Hughes includes tales of people overdosing and becoming addicted, of lives and families shattered, but I was left unsure whether prescription drugs like Subsys were a root cause of the fentanyl crisis, a contributing factor or a meaningless blip ... At times I wondered if the answer might be the latter and if Hughes was dodging an inconvenient fact so as not to deflate an otherwise compelling story. If so, he needn’t have worried. Even if Insys turns out to be a footnote in the opioid epidemic, there is value in exposing the world to the scummy underbelly of a powerful industry — especially one that has become the sudden object of so much public gratitude.