The Poison Line

Cara McGoogan


We send all orders via Royal Mail: within the UK, choose from 1st Class, 2nd Class or Special Delivery; for the rest of the world, International Standard or International Tracked. Delivery and packaging charges are calculated automatically at the checkout.

To collect orders in person from the Bookshop, choose Click and Collect at the checkout.

Penguin Books
16 May 2024
ISBN: 9780241998397
416 pages

From the publisher

The shocking true story of how a miracle cure became a deadly poison, and the lengths that big pharma and government took to cover it up, from prize-winning investigative journalist Cara McGoogan

The shocking true story of the infected blood scandal: the worst treatment disaster in NHS history, which saw people infected with HIV by a revolutionary medical treatment and a cover-up from governments and the multi-billion-dollar plasma industry.

'The Poison Line is the gripping tale of a terrible scandal' Jonathan Freedland, author of The Escape Artist

‘Books are routinely described as extraordinary, but this one really is’ John Preston, author of Fall

Factor VIII was billed as a medical miracle when it was put on the market in the late 1960s: a revolutionary treatment that meant people with haemophilia no longer feared a bleed might prove fatal. But as the treatment was rolled out, haemophiliacs began to contract hepatitis and AIDS in terrifying numbers. How safe was Factor VIII?

Even as medical bodies and pharmaceutical companies tried to discredit whistleblowers and diminish the evidence, it became abundantly clear that the ‘miracle’ treatment was infected. Before long, Factor VIII was killing the very people it promised to protect. And government embarked on a cover-up on an industrial scale.

Award-winning investigative journalist Cara McGoogan follows the survivors-turned-campaigners, the small-town lawyers and the fearless journalists who took on some of the most powerful interests in the world to uncover what really happened in the infected blood scandal.

‘This is a vital account of the infected blood scandal and subsequent cover-up . . . The truth must be told’ Andy Burnham

'McGoogan's work serves as a beacon for those of us dedicated to uncovering facts in the service of justice and human rights' Eliot Higgins, author of We Are Bellingcat

'The definitive account of one of modern medicine's most chilling scandals' Gerald Posner, author of Pharma

Shortlisted for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize 2024

Financial Times and Prospect 2023 Book of the Year