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Blood Money
Blood Money: The Story of Life, Death, and Profit Inside America's Blood Industry | Kathleen McLaughlin
Deeply personal and impossible to put down. Anne Helen Petersen, author of Cant Even Invisible Kingdom meets Empire of Pain in this explosive and shocking account of a $40 billion dollar underground medical industry and the American underclass it drains for blood and profit. Journalist Kathleen McLaughlin knew shed found a treatment that worked on her rare autoimmune disorder. She had no idea it had been drawn from the veins of Americas most vulnerable. So begins McLaughlins ten-year investigation researching and reporting on the $20-billion-a year business she found at the other end of her medication, revealing an industry that targets Americas most economically vulnerable for immense profit. Assigned to work in China, McLaughlin hesitated to utilize that countrys scandal-plagued plasma supplyoutbreaks throughout the 1990s and early 2000s struck thousands with blood-borne diseases as impoverished areas of the country were milked for blood with reckless abandon. Instead, McLaughlin becomes her own runner, hiding American plasma in her luggage during trips from the United States to China. She finishes the job, but never could get the plasma story out of her head. Suspicions become certainties when a source from the past, a visiting Chinese researcher, warns McLaughlin of troubling echoes between Americas domestic plasma supply chain and the one shed seen spin out into chaos in China. Blood Money shares McLaughlins decade-long mission to learn the full story of where her medicine comes from. She travels the United States in search of the truth about human blood plasma and learns that twenty million Americans each year sell their plasma for profita human-derived commodity extracted inside our borders to be processed and packaged for retail across the globe. She investigates the thin evidence pharmaceutical companies have used to push plasma as a wonder drug for everything from COVID-19 to wrinkled skin. And she unearths an American economic crisis hidden in plain sight: single mothers, college students, laid-off Rust Belt auto workers, and a booming blood market at Americas southern border, where collection agencies target Mexican citizens willing to cross over and sell their plasma for substandard pay. McLaughlins findings push her to ask difficult questions about her own complicity in this wheel of exploitation, as both a patient in need and a customer who stands to benefit from the suffering of others. Blood Money weaves together McLaughlins personal battle to overcome illness as a working American with an electrifying expos of capitalism run amok in a searing portrait that shows what happens when big business is allowed to feed unchecked on those least empowered to fight back.
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