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“Bad Medicine is a taut exploration of America’s deadly battle with opioid addiction—an unnerving and inspirational firecracker of a book.” —Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park “This page-turning true detective story blew my mind. Charlotte Bismuth shows, in brilliant detail, what happens when patients become victims. Bad Medicine is “Bad Medicine is a taut exploration of America’s deadly battle with opioid addiction—an unnerving and inspirational firecracker of a book.” —Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park “This page-turning true detective story blew my mind. Charlotte Bismuth shows, in brilliant detail, what happens when patients become victims. Bad Medicine is timely and important; I can’t recommend it loudly enough.” —Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, author of What the Eyes Don’t See “A spellbinding story about bringing a deadly doctor to justice.” —Patricia McCormick, New York Times bestselling author For fans of Dopesick and Bad Blood, the shocking story of New York’s most infamous pill-pushing doctor, written by the prosecutor who brought him down. In 2010, a brave whistleblower alerted the police to Dr. Stan Li’s corrupt pain management clinic in Queens, New York. Li spent years supplying more than seventy patients a day with oxycodone and Xanax, trading prescriptions for cash. Emergency room doctors, psychiatrists, and desperate family members warned him that his patients were at risk of death but he would not stop. In Bad Medicine, former prosecutor Charlotte Bismuth meticulously recounts the jaw dropping details of this criminal case that would span four years, culminating in a landmark trial. As a new assistant district attorney and single mother, Bismuth worked tirelessly with her team to bring Dr. Li to justice. Bad Medicine is a chilling story of corruption and greed and an important look at the role individual doctors play in America’s opioid epidemic.


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“Bad Medicine is a taut exploration of America’s deadly battle with opioid addiction—an unnerving and inspirational firecracker of a book.” —Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park “This page-turning true detective story blew my mind. Charlotte Bismuth shows, in brilliant detail, what happens when patients become victims. Bad Medicine is “Bad Medicine is a taut exploration of America’s deadly battle with opioid addiction—an unnerving and inspirational firecracker of a book.” —Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park “This page-turning true detective story blew my mind. Charlotte Bismuth shows, in brilliant detail, what happens when patients become victims. Bad Medicine is timely and important; I can’t recommend it loudly enough.” —Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, author of What the Eyes Don’t See “A spellbinding story about bringing a deadly doctor to justice.” —Patricia McCormick, New York Times bestselling author For fans of Dopesick and Bad Blood, the shocking story of New York’s most infamous pill-pushing doctor, written by the prosecutor who brought him down. In 2010, a brave whistleblower alerted the police to Dr. Stan Li’s corrupt pain management clinic in Queens, New York. Li spent years supplying more than seventy patients a day with oxycodone and Xanax, trading prescriptions for cash. Emergency room doctors, psychiatrists, and desperate family members warned him that his patients were at risk of death but he would not stop. In Bad Medicine, former prosecutor Charlotte Bismuth meticulously recounts the jaw dropping details of this criminal case that would span four years, culminating in a landmark trial. As a new assistant district attorney and single mother, Bismuth worked tirelessly with her team to bring Dr. Li to justice. Bad Medicine is a chilling story of corruption and greed and an important look at the role individual doctors play in America’s opioid epidemic.

30 review for Bad Medicine: Catching New York's Deadliest Pill Pusher

  1. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This was an eye opener. It does jump around a bit as you follow the lady prosecutor, Charlotte Bismuth, as she preps for trial. She’s trying to put away this prolific prescription writing doctor, and try to figure out how many of his patients he has killed with his pad and pen already. Doctor Stan Xuhu Li has made a ton of money catering to addicts, and making addicts out of people who weren’t before. It’s all about the opioids, and Dr. Stan Li was right there in the thick of it, doing his share This was an eye opener. It does jump around a bit as you follow the lady prosecutor, Charlotte Bismuth, as she preps for trial. She’s trying to put away this prolific prescription writing doctor, and try to figure out how many of his patients he has killed with his pad and pen already. Doctor Stan Xuhu Li has made a ton of money catering to addicts, and making addicts out of people who weren’t before. It’s all about the opioids, and Dr. Stan Li was right there in the thick of it, doing his share of the dirt, on weekends at least. During the week, he was a mild mannered, board certified anesthesiologist at a teaching hospital in New Jersey. I found this book to be just the kind I like to read, and enjoyed it quite a lot. There were however, a lot of statistics and details when talking about the trial that some may find a bit dry, and there are some places where it drags a bit, but not for long. Overall, a very good read. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Charlotte Bismuth, and the publisher.

  2. 4 out of 5

    I. David

    All Aspiring Lawyers Should Read This Book Please visit I. David's blog at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher, by author Charlotte Bismuth, is the powerful story of the investigation and trial of Stan Xuhui Li, a doctor accused of using his pain management clinic as a front for an illegal opioid dispensary. Ms. Bismuth knows of what she speaks. She was an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for All Aspiring Lawyers Should Read This Book Please visit I. David's blog at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher, by author Charlotte Bismuth, is the powerful story of the investigation and trial of Stan Xuhui Li, a doctor accused of using his pain management clinic as a front for an illegal opioid dispensary. Ms. Bismuth knows of what she speaks. She was an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York who worked on the case from beginning to end. Ms. Bismuth’s book is a horrifying depiction of the members of the pharmaceutical industry and the medical profession who line their pockets at the expense of patients to whom they recklessly prescribe opiates. However, through her description of the investigation and the trial, she also provides a vivid description of what it is really like to work as a lawyer. When I was considering law school in the 1970s I was encouraged to read Gideon’s Trumpet by Anthony Lewis, a book describing the path to the Supreme Court’s decision that the Constitution guarantees the right to legal counsel. In the 1990s prospective lawyers were encouraged to read A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr, a book that describes how a lawyer from a small firm fought against two large corporations to prove that they polluted the water supply in Woburn, Massachusetts. These are both inspirational books that describe how the law can operate for the benefit the everyday Americans. But neither of these books describes the day-to-day, hour-by-hour experience of what it is really like to be a lawyer. In contrast, Ms. Bismuth brutally describes it all, including: • The pressure of knowing that your clients or employer are relying on you to achieve something that is extremely important to them; • The stress of knowing that, if you make a mistake, in could have an adverse impact on many people; • The grind of going through thousands and thousands of documents in the hope that you will find some piece of evidence that supports your client’s case; • The suppression of a scream while opposing counsel does his job by distorting your clear understanding of the facts so that they support a position advantageous to his client; and • The anxiety of knowing that your personal life is suffering while you are distracted by your current assignment. But, most of all, Ms. Bismuth makes it clear that the life of a lawyer is all about confrontation and conflict. This is true whether a lawyer is involved in litigation or in a simple contract negotiation. Ms. Bismuth is very open about her own anxieties and is not all that comfortable with her career choice. She says that she spent her entire life avoiding conflicts and that the practice of law feels like aversion therapy. She stands in stark contrast to the other, more senior, ADA on the case, Peter Kougasian, who has been litigating for 35 years and seems to take everything in stride. As I was reading the book I could not help thinking that, if Ms. Bismuth had read this book before going into the profession, she would have chosen some other line of work. And I was right. When the case was over she left litigation and took a position in the office as a trainer of young ADAs. She then left the field altogether to try to become a writer. And based on the quality of this Bad Medicine I suspect that she can look forward to a successful future. Many young people go into the law because they earned good grades in undergraduate school and do not see any other alternatives. However, they should welcome the opportunity to learn what it is really like to practice law before spending three years in law school and finding out on the job. Bad Medicine is a book that gives them that opportunity. If they see themselves in Peter Kougasian they will enthusiastically embrace their career choice. But if they see themselves in Charlotte Bismuth they may want to consider another line of work. I give this book 5 stars both for its indictment of certain members of the pharmaceutical industry and the medical profession and for its true life depiction of the life of an attorney.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Cole

    I really wanted to like this book but I had a few major problems with it: 1. While I agree that Dr. Li did horrible things and is not fit to practice medicine, I didn't like how the author extended that righteousness to apply to being a prosecutor writ large. White supremacy is entrenched in the American criminal-legal system, and given this book's focus on illicit drugs, it is baffling that the author never once attempts to reckon with the role of prosecutors in perpetuating structural racism th I really wanted to like this book but I had a few major problems with it: 1. While I agree that Dr. Li did horrible things and is not fit to practice medicine, I didn't like how the author extended that righteousness to apply to being a prosecutor writ large. White supremacy is entrenched in the American criminal-legal system, and given this book's focus on illicit drugs, it is baffling that the author never once attempts to reckon with the role of prosecutors in perpetuating structural racism through the War on Drugs. Her frequent depictions of the American Prosecutor as a noble crusader for justice are very hard to take, even if she happened to be in the right for the individual case this book focuses on. 2. The opioid epidemic was not solely caused by individual doctors, and while I think the author understands this, this book at times seems like it is placing too much of the blame on doctors. Perhaps a discussion of the role of pharmaceutical companies, the American government, and capitalism itself would fall outside the scope of this already-detailed book, but casual readers of this book could walk away too focused on the actions of individual doctors as opposed to placing them within the larger context they operated in. 3. Maybe I'm just mean, but I didn't care much for the interludes about the author's personal life. It was hard to care about the personal struggles of a cog in what I view as a racist, oppressive machine (again, even though I think she was in the right for this particular case). 4. The way the coverage of the case jumps around in time got a little confusing. With all that being said, I did appreciate the way the author told the stories of the people struggling with substance use disorders who were victimized by Dr. Li. Anything that helps the general public move towards understanding addiction as a chronic medical condition, as opposed to a moral failing, is a step in the right direction.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Parmar

    It is disheartening to think that a person entrusted with healing could be convicted for hurting, even killing, patients. But Charlotte Bismuth writes of her journey with her team to prosecute Dr. Stan Li for just that crime. Researching, interviewing, and planning --all that background stuff-- for trial took a few years. A sixteen-week trial transpired, then conviction, sentencing ... What could have been simply a long, boring chronology of events instead became more of a mystery read: Ms. Bism It is disheartening to think that a person entrusted with healing could be convicted for hurting, even killing, patients. But Charlotte Bismuth writes of her journey with her team to prosecute Dr. Stan Li for just that crime. Researching, interviewing, and planning --all that background stuff-- for trial took a few years. A sixteen-week trial transpired, then conviction, sentencing ... What could have been simply a long, boring chronology of events instead became more of a mystery read: Ms. Bismuth jumped about a bit in her presentation of chapters, clearly dating and stating their relevance to the trial. That writing method keeps the reader interested and enlightens us about victims of Dr. Li's sideline business of prescribing controlled substances. Interspersed, too, are elements of Charlotte Bismuth's personal life, allowing readers to meet the person who shared her experience of bringing to justice the man who violated the maxim, "first, do no harm".

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ed Bisch

    This book takes you behind the curtain of the difficulties of shutting down/prosecuting a pill mill doctor while also humanizing some of the victims who are not just numbers to the author. Charlotte Bismuth sucks you in with a great start and keeps you interested with her well timed side bars and an intimate personal story that few would be brave enough to tell.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Edward Jacobs

    I couldn't put this book down. Ever more relevant, Bad Medicine takes you to the front lines of the opioid crisis. Bravo, Ms. Bismuth. I couldn't put this book down. Ever more relevant, Bad Medicine takes you to the front lines of the opioid crisis. Bravo, Ms. Bismuth.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Blagica

    Before I start my review, I want to say I am sorry to NetGalley and the publisher and author for my delayed review. I downloaded it on my kindle early and then for some odd reason it didn’t show up until I reloaded it. That being said this was a very different read for me. I always enjoy a good edge of your seat true crime, but I sadly had a tough time getting into this book. Now I will say that I felt that the case was presented well and that by the end of the book I hated Dr. Li. Not only did Before I start my review, I want to say I am sorry to NetGalley and the publisher and author for my delayed review. I downloaded it on my kindle early and then for some odd reason it didn’t show up until I reloaded it. That being said this was a very different read for me. I always enjoy a good edge of your seat true crime, but I sadly had a tough time getting into this book. Now I will say that I felt that the case was presented well and that by the end of the book I hated Dr. Li. Not only did I hate him I was thrilled with the sentence he received for his part in the deaths of the people in the story and also in his part for making things so much worse for the opioid crisis. What I enjoyed about this book is the passion for getting the conviction that every member of that team had. While the legal system isn’t perfect it was refreshing to see a group of people put everything they had into something to get the desired outcome. On the other side of the coin, however, is what I didn’t enjoy. I had a very hard time keeping up with the chapter transitions and headings. Unlike many of my fellow reviewers, however, I did not mind the bits and pieces that were included about the author's life. It gave me the reader a chance to process some of the harder parts I had read while I received a better understanding of the life that the author was trying to lead while trying to put an evil man behind bars. I was actually surprised by some of this read it was very well explained. My only downfall and why it’s getting a three-star rating from me is because the headings with how many days before and after the trial made things confusing where I found there were parts I had to go back and reread.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chris Boutté

    This book was incredible, and it meant a lot to me. In 2012, I had been addicted to prescription opioids for nearly a decade, I was the father of a 2-year-old son, my life was a mess, and I had a 10% chance of living. I've been clean for over 8 years, but I've met thousands of addicts trying to get clean, and I've known nearly 100 people who have died from overdoses. Due to my personal experience, I'm an advocate against the pushing of pills by doctors and pharmaceutical companies, and sometimes This book was incredible, and it meant a lot to me. In 2012, I had been addicted to prescription opioids for nearly a decade, I was the father of a 2-year-old son, my life was a mess, and I had a 10% chance of living. I've been clean for over 8 years, but I've met thousands of addicts trying to get clean, and I've known nearly 100 people who have died from overdoses. Due to my personal experience, I'm an advocate against the pushing of pills by doctors and pharmaceutical companies, and sometimes it feels like this problem isn't addressed, but this book from Charlotte Bismuth gives me hope.  Charlotte was a prosecutor who helped bring down Dr. Stan Li, a man who ran a pill mill that took the lives of multiple people due to his negligence. We often downplay or forget the role that trusted doctors play in the opioid epidemic, but through Charlotte's masterful writing, we get a full view of how this happens and the families it affects. While reading this book, I was pleasantly surprised at how amazing of a storyteller and writer Charlotte is. Not only do you learn about the opioid epidemic and this specific case, but she does a great job explaining the law while also sharing her personal journey during this chapter of her life. I can't put into words how great this book was, and I really hope it gets the credit and recognition that it deserves.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Excellent breakdown of a trial against DR. Li. A dr. whom prescribed opioids in very high strength,, large numbers of pills at a time and while doing so , operated a scheme wherein Insurance was billed as well as patients paying cash ( not copays ) Ultimately a number of patients were treated even as they, their families, or other medical doctors informed Dr. Li of overdoses and even suicide attempts....many died of overdoses. It took more than 4 years of investigation and more than 8 weeks of t Excellent breakdown of a trial against DR. Li. A dr. whom prescribed opioids in very high strength,, large numbers of pills at a time and while doing so , operated a scheme wherein Insurance was billed as well as patients paying cash ( not copays ) Ultimately a number of patients were treated even as they, their families, or other medical doctors informed Dr. Li of overdoses and even suicide attempts....many died of overdoses. It took more than 4 years of investigation and more than 8 weeks of trial but ultimately Dr. Li was convicted of more than 200 counts against him. A well written book by one of the lawyers on the prosecution side .

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kinser

    3.5 out of 5 stars

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Interesting read about the opioid epidemic and the search for justice and keeping doctors accountable for their part in the epidemic. I enjoyed most of the book. At times I found the personal details of the authors life distracting. Also, the book jumped around a lot which took a while to get use to. In general great book and I’m excited to read more from Charlotte Bismuth.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    3 1/2 stars. This was so unnerving and anxiety provoking. A real life horror story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pat Pullum

     Most people would hope that a doctor would prescribe medication that would give you relief, but that was not the case with Dr. Stan Li in Queens, New York, Dr. Li worked under the guise of a pain clinic where he saw an average of 70 patients a day. There would be little patient/doctor interaction and often no examination. Dr. Li would be paid in cash, which went straight into his pocket, for writing prescriptions for opioids. He was basically a drug dealer. Former prosecutor Charlotte Bismuth was  Most people would hope that a doctor would prescribe medication that would give you relief, but that was not the case with Dr. Stan Li in Queens, New York, Dr. Li worked under the guise of a pain clinic where he saw an average of 70 patients a day. There would be little patient/doctor interaction and often no examination. Dr. Li would be paid in cash, which went straight into his pocket, for writing prescriptions for opioids. He was basically a drug dealer. Former prosecutor Charlotte Bismuth was given the case to take to trial as many parents of Dr. Li's patients had legitimate concerns. The book takes us through her obtaining the evidence and then bringing the doctor to trial. Although reading pages of trial narrative can become boring at times, the book was interspersed with the author's personal life which made for interesting reading. I thank the publishers and author for allowing me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    April Taylor

    Bad Medicine is an infuriating and intriguing book about Dr. Li’s predatory medical practices. In fact, I was furious with him after just a couple of pages. It’s also about the author, though, and her struggles with depression and sexism. Some of her story was a bit too off topic for my tastes, but most of it was very well stated. For example, when she had to get Botox for the area between her eyebrows and how that changed people’s perceptions of her for the case. And, of course, none of the men Bad Medicine is an infuriating and intriguing book about Dr. Li’s predatory medical practices. In fact, I was furious with him after just a couple of pages. It’s also about the author, though, and her struggles with depression and sexism. Some of her story was a bit too off topic for my tastes, but most of it was very well stated. For example, when she had to get Botox for the area between her eyebrows and how that changed people’s perceptions of her for the case. And, of course, none of the men involved had to do the same. Overall, this first book has a couple of pacing issues, but it’s still very much worth reading. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This was not a firecracker of a book nor a page-turning true detective story. Well, it was a true story. That part was correct. As for the rest, the book doesn't live up to that hype. It does tell an incredibly detailed account of how a doctor was brought to trial for overprescribing opioids and other medications and committing Medicare fraud. I was really surprised how shocked the author was about either of these situations. Both seem to be in the news with much frequency. Perhaps it wasn't as This was not a firecracker of a book nor a page-turning true detective story. Well, it was a true story. That part was correct. As for the rest, the book doesn't live up to that hype. It does tell an incredibly detailed account of how a doctor was brought to trial for overprescribing opioids and other medications and committing Medicare fraud. I was really surprised how shocked the author was about either of these situations. Both seem to be in the news with much frequency. Perhaps it wasn't as well publicized when she began prosecuting this case? How long have I needed to show ID to buy over the counter Sudafed? The book at its foundation was well written and interesting. But, I struggled with the continually bouncing timelines. That made it difficult to connect the pieces. The other thing that was a draw back for me was the inclusion of Ms. Bismuth's personal life. At first I couldn't decide if it was there to provide a mental break from all the medical and legal talk or if it was just distracting. By the end of the book I determined it was the later. These intrusions kept the book from being the taut drama promised. Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christian Hughes

    Absolutely engrossing. This book reads like a novel, but the suspense is anything but fictional. Lawyers will find it spot on in its descriptions of courtroom scenes and procedure, and lay readers will find an eye opening account of the risks of bad medical care and associated addiction. It's a must read for doctors, lawyers and anyone seeking the advice of a physician or just in need of a good read. Absolutely engrossing. This book reads like a novel, but the suspense is anything but fictional. Lawyers will find it spot on in its descriptions of courtroom scenes and procedure, and lay readers will find an eye opening account of the risks of bad medical care and associated addiction. It's a must read for doctors, lawyers and anyone seeking the advice of a physician or just in need of a good read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

  18. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Dreiss

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robin Easterling

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer R

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rose

  23. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lois

  25. 4 out of 5

    Delphine

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shelly Ibok

  27. 4 out of 5

    robert purtock

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cristi Marashi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kat

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