After his wife’s death, Kapoor invested more and more into pushing Subsys forward. The aim of the product, Kapoor said, was to help people like his wife – seriously ill people battling severe pain. Subsys had the potential to ease the suffering of people in devastating pain, improving their lives immeasurably. It was also a great business idea.

Chapter 2, Page 21

In a nutshell

In the early 2000s, John Kapoor developed a fentanyl-based painkiller targeted for breakthrough cancer pain that was as addictive as it was effective. Driven by the need to capitalize on its success, he recruited a ruthless team who ensured the potent drug was pushed onto the market. Insys Therepeutics became a wall street sensation until insiders started to crack and blew the whistle.

Book Club Notes

I wouldn’t say that the workings of the pharmaceutical industry are a big interest of mine; however, this book is so brilliantly written that it makes you take an interest. The American opioid crisis is a subject I’m familiar with, but I had no prior knowledge of Insys Therapeutics or the concept of breakthrough cancer pain medication and I thoroughly enjoyed being educated. The Hard Sell is an investigative journalism piece delivered in riveting story telling format. It’s the best kind of educational reading, gripping, engaging and well written.

Read If

You love when investigative journalism is relayed through storytelling and/or you are interested in how pharmaceutical companies operate.


Storyline – 10/10
Writing – 10/10
Character Development – 10/10
Plot Twist – 0/10
Shareability – 10/10
8.0Overall Score
A note on our book ratings

Storyline: How good is the storyline? Is it believable and complex or does it make you shake your head in its ridiculousness?

Writing: How well written is the book? Do you find yourself wowed by the writing or unimpressed?

Character Development: Do the characters evolve and grow through the book and are they multi-dimensional?

Plot Twist: Where you able to predict the end, or did the author give you some surprises along the way to keep you on your toes?

Shareability: How likely are you to share the book?

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