Injustice in the drug world: Investigating Big Pharma, rehab scams and racial bias in the courts

  • Event: 2018 CAR Conference
  • Speakers: Michael Braga of GateHouse Media; Teri Sforza of The Orange County Register; Ed Silverman of STAT
  • Date/Time: Friday, Mar. 9 at 11:30am
  • Location: Grand Ballroom I
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

Drug companies are charging outrageous, eye-popping prices for lifesaving drugs: $475,000 for a cure to childhood leukemia, $202,000 for cystic fibrosis medicine, $35,000 to tame muscular dystrophy. Around the world, governments are wrestling with how to respond. Meanwhile in Southern California, a different kind of dilemma is plaguing the “Rehab Riviera.” Treatment facilities are recruiting addicts from across the country, bilking their insurance companies and spitting them back into the streets without an ounce of cure. And in Florida, racial bias reigns in the war on drugs. Black defendants get harsher punishment for drug crimes than their white counterparts and far less access to treatment for their addictions. See how reporters used data and more traditional skills to cover these stories. Learn about the hidden dangers in data and where to look for stories of your own.

Speaker Bios

  • @terisforza is a lead reporter on OCR/SCNG's probe of fraud, abuse and death in Southern California's addiction treatment industry. "Rehab Riviera" won 1st place for investigative reporting from the California Newspaper Publishers Association and 1st place for projects reporting from Best of the West. She also contributed to the OCR's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of fertility fraud at UC Irvine and is author of "The Strangest Song" (which Oliver Sacks liked).  

  • Ed Silverman, senior writer and Pharmalot columnist, has covered the pharmaceutical industry since 1995. He previously worked at The Wall Street Journal, The Star-Ledger of New Jersey and New York Newsday. Along with several former Wall Street Journal colleagues, Ed was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in explanatory journalism for a series of stories on drug pricing. He has an accounting degree from Binghamton University and a master’s in journalism from New York University.

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