Following up on a story that first surfaced in the gossip pages of the New York Daily News, Michael Hiltzik examines the details of a bizarre scheme aimed at scaring U.S. citizens away from importing cheap drugs from Canada. Marketing executives at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) agreed to pay a couple of writers to craft a fictional thriller in which a group of terrorists "uses Canadian Web sites to murder millions of unwitting Americans looking for cut-rate pharmaceuticals." Kenin Spivak, one of the novelists, says a PhRMA marketing executive was "intimately involved" in shaping details of the story's plot, characterization and tone. "They said they wanted it somewhat dumbed down for women, with a lot more fluff in it, and more about the wife of the head Croatian terrorist, who is a former Miss Mexico," Spivak said.
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