"Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America" by Gerald Posner. TNS
You know the old saying: Timing is everything.
That is certainly the case with author Gerald Posner, whose new book, “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America,” out this week, with one of its chapters titled “The Coming Pandemic.”
Now 65, Posner has worked on the book for years. And, of course, when he began the project in 2015, he’d never heard of COVID-19.
In his case, “I’d much rather be talking about the Sacklers (a family that reaped billions from manufacturing pharmaceuticals) or opioids or what can be done in Washington to fix the problem.”
And yet, his penultimate chapter ends with an infectious disease expert saying that, when it comes to “The Coming Pandemic,” “it’s a question of when, not if.”
It reminds him of growing up in San Francisco, where people lived with the fear that “the big one” would one day leave a lasting jolt, scaling 8 or 9 on the Richter Scale, killing thousands.
Posner says scientists did indeed tell him that, when it comes to pandemics, “the big one” is all but guaranteed.
And, yes, it might even rival the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, which infected 30 per cent of the world’s population (more than 500 million people).
Fate could produce a moment where, Posner says, “you get some novel virus or pathogen that could wipe out 10 per cent of the planet and shake up the world. Will it be COVID-19? I have no idea.”
As “Pharma” illustrates so graphically, there are indeed “new microbes for which there is little natural immunity, and the first year,” Posner says, “is always the worst.”
As his wife and fellow author and researcher Patricia Posner (“The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story”) sagely points out, in her husband’s words, “What makes this one different and a little scarier is social media. It’s the first pandemic we’ve ever gone through with social media.”
So, instead of turning to Facebook for what your “friends” might be saying about a new play, movie or restaurant, we’re all getting whipped by a mounting fear about COVID-19.
Tribune News Service
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