Introduction:The Battle to Save Democracy

It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe people are really good at heart.

—Anne Frank, from her diary, July 15, 1944

ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2009, THE TRANSNATIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL GIANT Pfizer pled guilty to multiple criminal felonies. It had been marketing drugs in a way that may well have led to the deaths of people and that definitely led physicians to prescribe and patients to use pharmaceuticals in ways they were not intended.

Because Pfizer is a corporation—a legal abstraction, really—it couldn’t go to jail like fraudster Bernie Madoff or killer John Dillinger; instead ...

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