William Rabkin clued me into this truly bizarre publishing scam. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a lobbying group, commissioned ghost writer Julie Chrystyn to write a thriller designed to scare people out of buying cheap drugs from Canada. When word of the ridiculous scheme leaked out, the drug lobby offered $100,000 to the author and her publisher, Michael Viner’s Phoenix Books, in a futile bid to bury the whole thing.
Chrystyn titled her thriller-in-progress "The Spivak Conspiracy," an homage
to her friend Kenin Spivak, an L.A. telecomm entrepreneur and
onetime Hollywood exec.
Spivak said he became Chrystyn’s co-writer after she delivered the first 50
pages, and PhRMA made several editorial suggestions.
"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 told me.
Apparently, women are among the most loyal buyers of Canadian drugs.
"They also wanted to change the motivating factor of the terrorists to greed,
because they didn’t want it to be politics," Spivak said. "They wanted lots of
people to die."
Spivak told me that since PhRMA pulled out – and he and his colleagues
rejected the lobby’s offer of $100,000 to kill the project – he and Chrystyn
have finished a revised version, "The Karasik Conspiracy," due early next