Melody Petersen’s breathless prose is well suited to the characters and machinations of big pharma.
When, on February 6, New York’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner finally announced that “Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine . . . [and] that the manner of death is an accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications,” the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. Not only the actor’s family and close friends but the public, too, who, despite gobbling up an endless supply of salacious details surrounding the death, had hoped for an explanation that would be less unseemly than circumstances suggested. “Today’s results put an end to speculation,” Ledger’s father wrote in a statement. “While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination
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