A "haunting" (Anne Helen Petersen, author of Can't Even) and deeply personal investigation of an underground for-profit medical industry and the American underclass it drains for blood and profit.
Journalist Kathleen McLaughlin knew she'd found a treatment that worked on her rare autoimmune disorder. She had no idea it had been drawn from the veins of America's most vulnerable.
So begins McLaughlin's ten-year investigation researching and reporting on the $20-billion-a year business she found at the other end of her medication, revealing a "vampiric real-life story of modern-day greed" (Leah Sottile, host of Bundyville
). Assigned to work in China, where the plasma supply had been rocked by numerous scandals, McLaughlin hid American plasma in her luggage during trips between the two countries. And when she was warned by a Chinese researcher of troubling echoes between America's domestic plasma supply chain and the one she'd seen spin out into chaos in China, she knew she had to dig deeper. Blood Money
shares McLaughlin's 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 profit--a 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 America's southern border, where collection agencies target Mexican citizens willing to cross over and sell their plasma for substandard pay.
This "captivating and anguished expos? (Publishers Weekly
) weaves together McLaughlin's personal battle to overcome illness while also facing her own complicity in this wheel of exploitation with an electrifying portrait of big business run amok.