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Strong Medicine

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Miracle drugs save lives and ease suffering, but for profit-motivated companies, the miracle is the money they generate...at any cost.  Billions of dollars in profits will make men and women do many things--lie, cheat, even kill.  now one beautiful woman will be caught in the cross fire between ethics and profits.  As Celia Jordan's fast-track career sweeps her into the hi Miracle drugs save lives and ease suffering, but for profit-motivated companies, the miracle is the money they generate...at any cost.  Billions of dollars in profits will make men and women do many things--lie, cheat, even kill.  now one beautiful woman will be caught in the cross fire between ethics and profits.  As Celia Jordan's fast-track career sweeps her into the highest circles of an international drug company, she begins to discover the sins and secrets hidden in the research lab...and in the marketplace.  Now the company's powerful new drug promises a breakthrough in treating a deadly disease.  But Celia Jordan knows it may deliver a nightmare.


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Miracle drugs save lives and ease suffering, but for profit-motivated companies, the miracle is the money they generate...at any cost.  Billions of dollars in profits will make men and women do many things--lie, cheat, even kill.  now one beautiful woman will be caught in the cross fire between ethics and profits.  As Celia Jordan's fast-track career sweeps her into the hi Miracle drugs save lives and ease suffering, but for profit-motivated companies, the miracle is the money they generate...at any cost.  Billions of dollars in profits will make men and women do many things--lie, cheat, even kill.  now one beautiful woman will be caught in the cross fire between ethics and profits.  As Celia Jordan's fast-track career sweeps her into the highest circles of an international drug company, she begins to discover the sins and secrets hidden in the research lab...and in the marketplace.  Now the company's powerful new drug promises a breakthrough in treating a deadly disease.  But Celia Jordan knows it may deliver a nightmare.

30 review for Strong Medicine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anu

    My grandfather's favourite writer is Arthur Hailey. He introduced my mum to his books, and in turn, she to me. He's not the most popular writer around, I see that, but I feel like his books have a lot more substance than a lot of books of a similar genre (think the likes of Robin Cook). This is for various reasons; for starters, he is a splendid writer - he knows how to "spin a tale". He also does his research well - all his facts are verifiable and true, at least as far as my research skills go My grandfather's favourite writer is Arthur Hailey. He introduced my mum to his books, and in turn, she to me. He's not the most popular writer around, I see that, but I feel like his books have a lot more substance than a lot of books of a similar genre (think the likes of Robin Cook). This is for various reasons; for starters, he is a splendid writer - he knows how to "spin a tale". He also does his research well - all his facts are verifiable and true, at least as far as my research skills go. Strong Medicine, though, remains my favourite book by him. Perhaps because this was the first of his books that I read, but mostly because I really like Celia Jordan, the protagonist, a pharmaceutical sales rep. Well, she starts off as a sales rep, at least. She's assertive, smart, caring, as well as being a good wife and a mother. She fucks up multiple times, during the course of the book, including, at one point, cheating on her husband, but as I've previously mentioned, I like flawed characters. And Celia Jordan is flawed, also. She's egotistical, stubborn, and at times, so caught up with going forward, with plummeting into the future, that she forgets to stay grounded. Her husband, Andrew is a doctor, and their conflicting professions many times cause fights between the couple; but that's just it, there's an element of realism to their marriage that I find refreshing. There are other characters, whose names I don't remember, like a geneticist determined to find some cure for Alzheimer's, his smart and beautiful...wife, and the entire upper management of Felding-Roth, a hotshot pharma company that Celia works for. Strong Medicine, through the course of the story, shows the growth of Celia Jordan as a businesswoman, a wife, a mother, and a friend. Because the book covers a significant period of time, in its attempt to show Celia's growth, it also covers a great number of historical events in its story. By history, I mostly mean events that were significant in the pharmaceutical and medical world; the most important one being the tragedy that transpired after the introduction of the drug Thalidomide in the markets in the 1950s-60s. Strong Medicine is a commentary on the rise and fall of the pharmaceutical industry masquerading as fiction, and it makes for an interesting read. It is definitely not Hailey's best work - if you're looking for the best work, you should read his Airport. However, I highly recommend this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Em*bedded-in-books*

    I recently subscribed to Audible India and this was the first book I chose to listen after a bit of contemplation . Have always enjoyed Arthur Hailey medical fiction from childhood, and most books that I read of him we're before I finished medical studies. Now nearly 2 decades later, with s professional background I am impressed at his astuteness in formulating this fiction which almost resembles facts . Strong medicine deals with the pharmaceuticals ( pharma) industry, a powerful giant with deep I recently subscribed to Audible India and this was the first book I chose to listen after a bit of contemplation . Have always enjoyed Arthur Hailey medical fiction from childhood, and most books that I read of him we're before I finished medical studies. Now nearly 2 decades later, with s professional background I am impressed at his astuteness in formulating this fiction which almost resembles facts . Strong medicine deals with the pharmaceuticals ( pharma) industry, a powerful giant with deep reaching effects. It delineates the Nexus between pharma, medical professional, various regulatory agencies, government and politics. I got to travel back in time and witnessed the thalidomide tragedy, though in second person account, I saw how montaine too became an equally demonic drug. I met corrupt as well as decent scientists.. It was an invigorating journey of knowledge spanning nearly 3 decades via the life of Celia deGray, a medical representative , ( known as detail man in USA) , who ascends up the stairs of pharmacy industry via diligence, intelligence and hard work, and towards the end how she too is almost toppled over due to certain inherent risks involved with her position. I saw good men being corrupted, bad men trying to hide behind masks of politeness and servitude and got a very close peek at FDA, which I have always wondered about. Arthur Hailey , being an internist himself has done a wonderful job with this one. One star removed because it was too dramatic and too patriarchal at places, though I should perhaps give the leverage of time for the gender issues here.

  3. 4 out of 5

    W

    Hailey wrote this,late in his career,after he had suffered a heart attack.It is the story of Celia Jordan,a detail woman in a drug company,and her rise through the ranks of the industry. It seems like a continuation of another of his books,The Final Diagnosis. It is an in-depth look at the workings of big pharma. Drug companies continue to market potentially dangerous drugs,with horrible "side effects" in their relentless quest for profit. Hailey also looks at the flawed process through which new d Hailey wrote this,late in his career,after he had suffered a heart attack.It is the story of Celia Jordan,a detail woman in a drug company,and her rise through the ranks of the industry. It seems like a continuation of another of his books,The Final Diagnosis. It is an in-depth look at the workings of big pharma. Drug companies continue to market potentially dangerous drugs,with horrible "side effects" in their relentless quest for profit. Hailey also looks at the flawed process through which new drugs are introduced in the market,regardless of the potential risks they pose.I have seen first hand how the harmful effects of drugs can destroy lives. Doctors continue to prescribe them,and big pharma continues to market them,even when patients suffer horribly.The book left a deep impact on me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I read this only because one of my yoga teachers had cited from this novel- that if you fall sick and take medicine you will get well in a week and if you don't, you will get well in 7 days. Not my usual reading preference. I read this to understand what it had to say about the pharmaceutical industry. Some interesting insights. But this book was written in the 1980s and a lot of what it said about the big pharmas are things we are more aware of now. But to give it credit, as a novel and eventua I read this only because one of my yoga teachers had cited from this novel- that if you fall sick and take medicine you will get well in a week and if you don't, you will get well in 7 days. Not my usual reading preference. I read this to understand what it had to say about the pharmaceutical industry. Some interesting insights. But this book was written in the 1980s and a lot of what it said about the big pharmas are things we are more aware of now. But to give it credit, as a novel and eventually a movie, it educated the masses about the less favourable aspects of the industry and FDA. There isn't much art to this novel. Nothing striked me vividly or emotionally. The writing is too long-winded for my liking and the characters and language sometimes make me cringe as they are so cliche. The characters are so 2-D. There is just nothing that captures my imagination as a novel.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The story begins in the late fifties with Celia de Grey, a pharmaceutical detail "man" which means she sells prescription drugs to doctors. In a dramatic manner she brings Andrew Jordan MD an experimental drug not on the market for use on his dying young patient and they save her life. Celia informs Andrew she is going to marry him and one month later she does. They honeymoon for three weeks in the Bahamas, where she is a liberated sex kitten, and on the return flight home she informs him of her The story begins in the late fifties with Celia de Grey, a pharmaceutical detail "man" which means she sells prescription drugs to doctors. In a dramatic manner she brings Andrew Jordan MD an experimental drug not on the market for use on his dying young patient and they save her life. Celia informs Andrew she is going to marry him and one month later she does. They honeymoon for three weeks in the Bahamas, where she is a liberated sex kitten, and on the return flight home she informs him of her twenty-five year plan. Have first child immediately, take one year off work then return to the company, a few years later have second child, continue working, hire perfect British nanny, buy perfect house in perfect neighborhood for bargain price, remodel for less than expected costs (that may be the most unrealistic thing of all) skyrocket through the pharmaceutical company by acurately predicting the next president of the company and hitching her star to his, eventually become president of pharmaceutical company and revolutionize the industry. All goes according to plan. Celia isn't the only one who is perfect, everyone else is too. Her boss's only daughter, beautiful, rich and doted upon is not spoiled, but happily married at age 20 to an ideal young man -- these lucky parents had no sleepless nights. Celia's own children are super talented, directed, healthy, docile, straight A students in their private boarding schools. I'm more than half way through the book hoping for the big crisis to hit, based on his other books his style is to build up an overwhelming and realistic disaster through small seemingly harmless events that by themselves are benign, but together and at the right time can be astonishing in impact. I'm eagerly anticpating these characters demise as I HATE them. Celia even buys several copies of Feminine Mystique and sends it to several of her co-workers! If drivel like that was sent to my desk she'd be circling the want ads before the work day was over.

  6. 5 out of 5

    A Man Called Ove

    It is amazing how Hailey can write unputdownable books despite being formulaic and using black-or-white characters. Inspired by his wife, this one is comfortably in the better half of Hailey’s novels. An entertaining, thorough look at the pharmaceutical industry. 2 out of the 3 most popular reviews on goodreads for this one are 1/5. Thankfully friends on goodreads had given a more sensible and favourable review which gave me the heart to pick it up. Although one of the major characters is a docto It is amazing how Hailey can write unputdownable books despite being formulaic and using black-or-white characters. Inspired by his wife, this one is comfortably in the better half of Hailey’s novels. An entertaining, thorough look at the pharmaceutical industry. 2 out of the 3 most popular reviews on goodreads for this one are 1/5. Thankfully friends on goodreads had given a more sensible and favourable review which gave me the heart to pick it up. Although one of the major characters is a doctor in this one, want to follow up with his book on hospitals “The Final Diagnosis”.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ashwin

    As with any other book by Hailey, you're left with the feeling that your knowledge of a particular institution or organization has been substantially increased. The story maintains a solid pace and that too comes as no surprise. However, there is an element of artificiality in the way the characters have been presented. They are too perfectly chiseled and their imperfections if any seem to be contrived. Consequently, every action of theirs can be predicted with ease, this causes the book to lose As with any other book by Hailey, you're left with the feeling that your knowledge of a particular institution or organization has been substantially increased. The story maintains a solid pace and that too comes as no surprise. However, there is an element of artificiality in the way the characters have been presented. They are too perfectly chiseled and their imperfections if any seem to be contrived. Consequently, every action of theirs can be predicted with ease, this causes the book to lose a bit of its edge. To sum up - a page turner and worth a read. But, you wont find yourself recollecting much from this book, apart from the general storyline.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Navatha Rakeesh

    Liked this book very much for several reasons. It is a story of how a woman makes her way through the pharmaceutical firm from being a sales rep to the top most executive. It is a thrilling (& chilling) peek into the ways of working in the drug industry, the war between ethics and profits while lots of lives are at stake. The board room politics and gender discrimination have been well portrayed. Enjoyed reading it very much.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kunal Nayak

    Arthur Hailey weaves a wonderful story of a detail women named Celia, who with her husband Andrew, becomes the President of a huge Pharmaceutical company named Felding-Roth. The journey has some ups and downs and Celia does everything to ride them successfully, conquering the hearts of everyone around her. Arthur Hailey is a brilliant author and Strong Medicine is the proof.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jo Richardson

    very complicated and fast paced story based on the pharmaceutical industry, both successes and failures

  11. 5 out of 5

    The Dreamcatcher

    Check out my review at: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_pr_ZYg-... Check out my review at: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_pr_ZYg-...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Deeps

    Very well written book, if not quite a standard novel for a 12 year old, which was my age on first reading.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Premalatha L

    This will be in my Top 5 favourite books. Tells the story of Celia Jordan who raises to the top position of Felding Roth, a pharmaceutical company, how she survives with all the hatred and disapprovals from the other gender. She is not flawless either , who cooks up things in the work and also cheats on her husband, but will surely inspire you to be a woman of this strength and vulnerability. Don't know whether the word strong denotes her or the real changes they want to bring in the medicinal f This will be in my Top 5 favourite books. Tells the story of Celia Jordan who raises to the top position of Felding Roth, a pharmaceutical company, how she survives with all the hatred and disapprovals from the other gender. She is not flawless either , who cooks up things in the work and also cheats on her husband, but will surely inspire you to be a woman of this strength and vulnerability. Don't know whether the word strong denotes her or the real changes they want to bring in the medicinal field( outside the life of Celia).. Thorough researched book and other characters mainly Celia's husband Andrew who is shown to be the kindest man understands her career, and interesting part is their marriage life is shown very realistic. Of course, lot to know about what's happening in the medical field - both the good and the bad side of it.. I strongly suggest to read this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anil Dhingra

    An excellent book like all earlier ones by Hailey. He wrote this after his heart attack. It is about the pharmaceutical industry from the 50s to late 90s, the period of my medical education so I really identified with the story. Celia and her internist husband Andrew are the lovable couple around whom the book revolves. As Celia progresses in a pharma company from a first female sales rep-- through her sheer hard work and sincerity is amazing. The book deals with how drugs are developed, markete An excellent book like all earlier ones by Hailey. He wrote this after his heart attack. It is about the pharmaceutical industry from the 50s to late 90s, the period of my medical education so I really identified with the story. Celia and her internist husband Andrew are the lovable couple around whom the book revolves. As Celia progresses in a pharma company from a first female sales rep-- through her sheer hard work and sincerity is amazing. The book deals with how drugs are developed, marketer, and the problems with the regulators. The corruption and the red tape is all laid out. Wonderful read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chandni

    Love the research and strong female lead. It was good to get the pros and cons of the pharmaceutical industry, especially with the recent vaccines coming out. The quote "if you fall sick and take medicine you will get well in a week and if you don't, you will get well in 7 days" stuck to me too. Love the research and strong female lead. It was good to get the pros and cons of the pharmaceutical industry, especially with the recent vaccines coming out. The quote "if you fall sick and take medicine you will get well in a week and if you don't, you will get well in 7 days" stuck to me too.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Baratha Kamban S

    The story's somewhat interesting. But has a lot of insiders information about the Pharma industry. The story of Celia Jordan is not as strong as her character. The story's somewhat interesting. But has a lot of insiders information about the Pharma industry. The story of Celia Jordan is not as strong as her character.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Akshay Narayanan

    The first Arthur Hailey book from which I am shaving off a star. The book has all the hallmarks usual to Arthur Hailey. A heart warming storyline, realistic characters and in midst of narrating the story the author manages to sketch out the intricacies of another industry (Pharmaceuticals this time). While the book is undoubtedly well written, the book was missing something that I have enjoyed about Hailey novels, Namely that the protagonist of the story unlike other thrillers is not attempting The first Arthur Hailey book from which I am shaving off a star. The book has all the hallmarks usual to Arthur Hailey. A heart warming storyline, realistic characters and in midst of narrating the story the author manages to sketch out the intricacies of another industry (Pharmaceuticals this time). While the book is undoubtedly well written, the book was missing something that I have enjoyed about Hailey novels, Namely that the protagonist of the story unlike other thrillers is not attempting to save the world, he is simply living his life. Often in Hailey novels, the causes espoused by the protagonist is not a panacea, it is not even necessarily the right thing to do for the company or the industry. It is usually in gray with positives and negatives and I have always found his ability to firmly set the author firmly behind the protagonist in spite of this to be a unique feature of his books. I found this aspect lacking in the Strong Medicine. Additionally, though the book on the surface celebrates the professional success of a woman, I found the book and its messages to be sexist in places (The women seem to succeed based on intuition and reliance on men rather than pure merit, men and women in the book seem to be from two different species and so on). Overall an excellent book well worth reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Venkataragavan

    Two books have made me shed tears, and one of them is "Strong Medicine". Celia Jordan, portrayed as a strong character in the book, albeit with human errors, is instantly likeable. The novel tracks Celia, the protagonist, through her career, starting as a detail person for a pharmaceutical company Felding-Roth and her gradual but resolute rise through the ranks of the company to becoming its President. Her incident with Andrew, a doctor, regarding Lotromycin, and their subsequent marriage, is a Two books have made me shed tears, and one of them is "Strong Medicine". Celia Jordan, portrayed as a strong character in the book, albeit with human errors, is instantly likeable. The novel tracks Celia, the protagonist, through her career, starting as a detail person for a pharmaceutical company Felding-Roth and her gradual but resolute rise through the ranks of the company to becoming its President. Her incident with Andrew, a doctor, regarding Lotromycin, and their subsequent marriage, is a joy to behold in prose. I liked the way Arthur held the marriage together, not neglecting the essential parts necessary to sustain any relationship. Two parts made me cry, one of which was Celia sleeping with Peat-Smith, as all the way till that point, I was crossing my fingers desperately hoping something like that wouldn't happen. The other was during their family reunion at Celia's father's memorial, which was described elegantly, mincing no words to hammer home the effect. All in all, I loved this book immensely and would recommend it to anyone.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robert Colquhoun

    Would give it 3.5 if I could. An interesting look into the pharmaceutical industry; the good, the bad and the ugly. Exemplifies the struggle between profits and ethics of big business and the morals/integrity of those working within big business and government. There's corruption and unscrupulous behaviour in business, government and within the people running such organizations. Hopefully, as there is with the heroine of this story, someone has the conscientious wherewith-all to stand up and do w Would give it 3.5 if I could. An interesting look into the pharmaceutical industry; the good, the bad and the ugly. Exemplifies the struggle between profits and ethics of big business and the morals/integrity of those working within big business and government. There's corruption and unscrupulous behaviour in business, government and within the people running such organizations. Hopefully, as there is with the heroine of this story, someone has the conscientious wherewith-all to stand up and do what's right. That being said, I lost all respect for the heroine due to her infidelity. I understand why Mr. Hailey included this lapse of ethical/moral choice but it is something I find very distasteful and unforgivable for a man or woman to do to their partner. A good read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ajay Sharda

    I had picked up this book when I had just moved into an assignment with one of the top pharmaceutical company. As the name of the novel suggests, the story revolves around a pharmaceutical company and in a way, takes you around a journey from molecules to medicine. The primary characters of the novel work in a pharmaceutical company which is into manufacturing & distribution of medicines. After finishing the novel, I could very well connect the dots of various things that my team or I would be w I had picked up this book when I had just moved into an assignment with one of the top pharmaceutical company. As the name of the novel suggests, the story revolves around a pharmaceutical company and in a way, takes you around a journey from molecules to medicine. The primary characters of the novel work in a pharmaceutical company which is into manufacturing & distribution of medicines. After finishing the novel, I could very well connect the dots of various things that my team or I would be working on during our day-to-day operations with the pharma company. Later on, we included this book as one of the recommended readings for new joiners as a part of the induction process. Interview book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eric Wright

    In the same line as Hailey's Hotel, Airport and Overload, Strong Medicine portrays a facet of modern life as lived through the eyes of strong characters. In this case, a strong woman (Celia Jordan) who wants both a career and a good marriage, rises through the ranks of a large pharmaceutical company. Through her experiences and those of her doctor husband, we catch a rather scary picture of the development and sale of drugs in America and their evaluation by the US government. We see the enormou In the same line as Hailey's Hotel, Airport and Overload, Strong Medicine portrays a facet of modern life as lived through the eyes of strong characters. In this case, a strong woman (Celia Jordan) who wants both a career and a good marriage, rises through the ranks of a large pharmaceutical company. Through her experiences and those of her doctor husband, we catch a rather scary picture of the development and sale of drugs in America and their evaluation by the US government. We see the enormous benefit wrought by amazing drugs, but also some of the shoddy tricks used in the industry and the foot-dragging of the government. An illuminating read which combines both strong characters, good and bad, and an overview of the recent history of the industry.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Girish

    Hailey's Strong Medicine gives you his strongest heroine - Celia who rises to top and keeps swinging in the big bad world of pharmaceuticals. The book is rich on research, which you would come to expect when Hailey handles a subject. The other characters like Andrew and Sam are supporting characters and they remain that way. The book has touched multiple facets of corporate including Glass Ceiling, Politics, Advertising, Environmental groups and Animal rights. The parts concerning Peat Smith and Hailey's Strong Medicine gives you his strongest heroine - Celia who rises to top and keeps swinging in the big bad world of pharmaceuticals. The book is rich on research, which you would come to expect when Hailey handles a subject. The other characters like Andrew and Sam are supporting characters and they remain that way. The book has touched multiple facets of corporate including Glass Ceiling, Politics, Advertising, Environmental groups and Animal rights. The parts concerning Peat Smith and Yovenne seems long and unrelated to the flow. As a portrayal of the industry as it exists, this is a thoroughly readable book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sreedhar Pothukuchi

    The best from Arthur Hailey. That his novels are 101 reading for all industry practitioners is a given. Only he could have crafted such a gripping drama while explaining the history of drug discovery and industry dynamics over 3 decades, and with such lucidity. A must read, even over 30 years later.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amigo Jay

    Responsibility is something that's seldom given to you but mostly you have to take it. Take it when you should, take it when it's needed, take it when it's yours. Not doing so can be wrong and sometimes devastating. Hope we have Celia in all of us and we do as she did when it was needed. Responsibility is something that's seldom given to you but mostly you have to take it. Take it when you should, take it when it's needed, take it when it's yours. Not doing so can be wrong and sometimes devastating. Hope we have Celia in all of us and we do as she did when it was needed.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Fraga

    Read 150+ pages and decided I just wasn't feeling it Read 150+ pages and decided I just wasn't feeling it

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Had I chosen to read this book at any other time than during the COVID-19 pandemic, I might have a different perspective, but I found the key issue at the end of the book to be particularly interesting in light of the reports about the pandemic. When I chose the book, I thought it would be focusing on doctor Andrew Jordan, but instead the focus was on his wife, Celia, who he first meets when she visits his office as 'detail man', the 1950's term for a pharmaceutical sales rep. Being one of the f Had I chosen to read this book at any other time than during the COVID-19 pandemic, I might have a different perspective, but I found the key issue at the end of the book to be particularly interesting in light of the reports about the pandemic. When I chose the book, I thought it would be focusing on doctor Andrew Jordan, but instead the focus was on his wife, Celia, who he first meets when she visits his office as 'detail man', the 1950's term for a pharmaceutical sales rep. Being one of the first women to work as a 'detail man', Celia is immediately forced to grow a strong backbone because doctors generally find the salesmen to be pushy and undesirable, but a saleswoman in that era is even more susceptible for scorn, including Andrew's. Celia proves headstrong, and the book chronicles her rise through the ranks at fictional company Fielding-Roth, which Hailey parallels with real-life happenings in the world, including the Thalidomide disaster, where pregnant women who took the drug gave birth to babies with severe birth defects. Towards the end of the book, say late 1970's/early 1980's, Celia is faced with a disaster at her own company when the launch of a new drug ingredient that minimizes side effects of drugs it is combined with (for example, using it in the manufacture of arthritis drugs prevents the stomach issues commonly experienced by those who take such drugs long-term) must be aborted after one of the companies who planned to use it with their products backs off due to a number of unexplained deaths during the trial. When questioned, Celia's lead scientist who developed the ingredient admits he was aware of the deaths, but because the people died of things seemingly unrelated to the drug (like an arthritis sufferer who succumbs to pneumonia), he disregarded them as anything more than coincidence. The company suffers because the government comes down hard on them for not following FDA guidelines. Fast forward to real-life 2020, and there are arguments over whether the number of fatalities from COVID-19 are being inflated by doctors and coroners who are, as one of my friends put it, 'counting anyone who dies of anything other than a car crash or bullet wound' as COVID-19 deaths. Yet at the same time, I have other friends who feel the numbers are too low because people are dying without being tested due to shortages of tests. Granted, this book is fiction, but seeing how Hailey used a lot of other real-life scenarios in the book, I feel like his handling of that key plot twist was also likely grounded in reality, and in this similar situation when there is something new and potentially dangerous out there, erring on the side of attributing more deaths to the drug or virus than it actually caused is the wiser way to go than falsely proclaim that there is no reason to be alarmed.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Unlike many of Hailey's novels, Strong Medicine takes place over decades. It follows the fictional career of a woman named Celia Jordan at a fictional pharmaceutical company called Fielding Roth. Published in 2001, late in Hailey's career, it focuses on Jordan's rise at Fielding Roth during a time, starting in the 1960s, when few women climbed corporate ladders. It also frequently references and strongly parallels the story of a notorious drug called Thalidomide. Overseas, Thalidomide was approve Unlike many of Hailey's novels, Strong Medicine takes place over decades. It follows the fictional career of a woman named Celia Jordan at a fictional pharmaceutical company called Fielding Roth. Published in 2001, late in Hailey's career, it focuses on Jordan's rise at Fielding Roth during a time, starting in the 1960s, when few women climbed corporate ladders. It also frequently references and strongly parallels the story of a notorious drug called Thalidomide. Overseas, Thalidomide was approved for use as a tranquilizer and frequently prescribed for pregnant women. If taken very early in pregnancy, there was a chance of severe birth defects, even death. Fortunately, the FDA agent assigned its approval in the US recognized that it had not been specifically tested for use during pregnancy and pressed the company for extra studies. This caused delays substantial enough for word to get out from other countries, particularly Germany, of the birth defect issue. The drug was withdrawn before it was ever approved for that use in the US (it has since been re-introduced for other quite beneficial purposes, but special care is given to keep it from use during pregnancy and even men are strongly advised to use birth control during use, if necessary). So Thalidomide, by the FDA's count, strongly affected only nine pregnancies of women given the drug by American doctors (the real number could be many times that, but the FDA undoubtedly saved thousands). The early portions of the novel focus on how something like this could happen. Salespeople from drug companies give doctors enormous numbers of free samples to market future prescriptions. Even though this was not legal at the time, and remains illegal, a drug could be marketed before FDA approval and could even get into patient hands if doctors were convinced of its safety. Strong Medicine is all about ethics in the pharmaceutical industry. Hailey's heavy research approach to his novels is apparent. I enjoyed the novel. I definitely learned a lot and the story is compelling and page-turning. But it didn't feel as deep as it should. Celia is treated as a saint, for the most part, by the narrative. Admired far and wide and her flaws, which are numerable, paid only limited attention. It felt like Hailey was in love with his character. The narrative, which only infrequently strays from her side, seems fawning. The plot seems contrived to protect her at all costs, while exposing an industry that has its share of serious ethical issues. You root for Celia because you should - that's how the novel is constructed. Afterward, maybe you wonder why.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Villard

    I am not quite sure what my overall opinion of this book is. By the end, I felt like I knew the characters intimately and had spent several decades working or living with them, but there is something missing. Much of the book reads like a history book, or perhaps a biography. There is some emotional element missing, leaving the reader a bit too detached. It was not one of those books "you can't put down", but I did find myself occasionally thinking about the characters now and then during my dai I am not quite sure what my overall opinion of this book is. By the end, I felt like I knew the characters intimately and had spent several decades working or living with them, but there is something missing. Much of the book reads like a history book, or perhaps a biography. There is some emotional element missing, leaving the reader a bit too detached. It was not one of those books "you can't put down", but I did find myself occasionally thinking about the characters now and then during my daily life, and wondering what would happen next. I realize that Arthur Hailey was British and Canadian, but he neglected to create an authentic style of dialogue for his main characters, who are American. At first I chalked it up to the 1950's setting where the story begins (I was born in the 1960's, so that portion was before my time), but all of these American people were still using British expressions frequently ("I've a good idea", "we've several options", etc) by the 1980's in the story, which I found impossible to ignore. As a result, I felt removed from the conversation and annoyed at the distraction. Some of the story takes place in England, and the dialogue among those characters flows beautifully. When I finished the book, I thought, "So...?" I don't know what the point of the story was. I understand the lessons learned by the characters, but I feel like the book had no central plot. I can't say, however, that I don't recommend the book. It was entertaining and, although it took a while to get to know the characters, I felt like I did get to know them well. Also, some of the characters experience transformations in personality or attitude over the years, which makes them seem true-to-life.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    *Just a preface this is my first review on here and spoilers ahead* Just like Hotel Hailey does a great job giving insight to an industry, this time a pharmaceutics company. This book does a good job keeping the reader engaged with twists and turns throughout the novel. Here's what I disliked though: First, the protagonist Celia just casually cheats on her husband by sleeping with a researcher she hired, and says there's nothing wrong with it in a lasting relationship and the book moves on like n *Just a preface this is my first review on here and spoilers ahead* Just like Hotel Hailey does a great job giving insight to an industry, this time a pharmaceutics company. This book does a good job keeping the reader engaged with twists and turns throughout the novel. Here's what I disliked though: First, the protagonist Celia just casually cheats on her husband by sleeping with a researcher she hired, and says there's nothing wrong with it in a lasting relationship and the book moves on like nothing happened. For a book all about ethics and morals, and Celia being all about them, this just came out of nowhere, and she doesn't do it again in the novel nor does it come up again. Speaking of her husband, we don't see much of him even though he's a doctor, and it's kind of annoying that she seems to not respect his opinion much despite his credentials. Then there's the Peptide 7 drug which just magically cures everything with zero side effects, unlike every other drug in the book. What happened to the bad weight loss in the mice? All of a sudden it just solves obese people's problems, but what about already healthy individuals? Do they not lose weight at all? Oh, it's also basically Viagra. These are just a few problems I had with the book. Also, her kids are insufferable; any dialogue with them made me want to vomit. Anyways, thanks for reading. Ultimately it was worth the read and it all rounds off in the end.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chaitalee Ghosalkar

    3.5 stars As is with his other books, Hailey’s extensive study of the field shows. But this time, since it is pharmaceutical industry- the field I have undergone my graduation in, is explored, even the smallest of slip-ups become glaring. Strong Medicine showcases the functioning of the pharmaceutical industry through the protagonist Celia Jordan from the time she is a pharmaceutical rep and charts her journey till the Vice President of a fictional company- Felding Roth Pharmaceuticals. For a perso 3.5 stars As is with his other books, Hailey’s extensive study of the field shows. But this time, since it is pharmaceutical industry- the field I have undergone my graduation in, is explored, even the smallest of slip-ups become glaring. Strong Medicine showcases the functioning of the pharmaceutical industry through the protagonist Celia Jordan from the time she is a pharmaceutical rep and charts her journey till the Vice President of a fictional company- Felding Roth Pharmaceuticals. For a person not related to the pharmaceutical industry, the book does a good job of educating, entertaining and exposing. Aspects of drug marketing, drug development, FDA’s role are explored in depth. And it not just the topic of medicine that is touched upon, even doctors and their involvement in the drug industry’s operations is delved into. On the negative, for someone who’s a part of this field, there is lack of novelty. Much of the book rests on Thalidomide, the disaster drug from the 1960s responsible for phocomelia of thousands of babies. Even in the latter half of the book, the drug in question buys heavily from Oraflex- an anti-arthritic drug that caused patient deaths. All in all, it is an interesting read. In his trademark style, Hailey leaves an open ending, which works well in this case, since one cannot possibly tie it up nicely for an industry as dynamic as this one.

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