Arthur Hailey's Strong Medicine is the story of Celia Jordan, a detail woman who rises through the ranks of a major pharmaceutical company, Felding Roth. The story begins with Celia getting chewed out by a young doctor, Andrew Jordan, for wasting his time while his patient id dying of hepatitis. Celia returns the next day with an experimental drug, which saves the patient from certain death. This experience draws them closer and they get married. Celia returns to her job as a detail woman, determined to break into the higher ranks of the company, in which she is supported by her boss, Sam Hawthorne. Celia struggles for better standards and more honesty in detailing, coming perilously close to being sacked. However, she succeeds, and is entrusted with the responsibility of training the company's salesmen. From here on, her rise is meteoric. Celia moves on to head the over the counter division of the company, then onto international sales. She also helps set up a new research center in Britain, headed by Dr. Martin Peat Smith, a brilliant scientist researching Alzhemier's disease. Along the way, Andrew and Celia have two children. Andrew's finds that his partner in practise, Dr. Noah Townsend is addicted to pharmaceutical drugs, but his report to higher authority is suppressed. Later, this leads to the death of a patient, after which Dr. Townsend goes insane. This leads to a rare fight between Celia and Andrew. Celia is then asked to head up the team for marketing Montayne, a new drug to prevent morning sickness, but resigns having doubts about it's safety. The author weaves a great story around the functioning of a modern drug firm, narrating it through the device of Celia's career. He describes the way Celia must tone down her idealism in order to succeed at her job, and the compromises she must make in order to do so. Following Sam Hawthorne up the corporate ladder, Celia discovers the things that go into the making of a successful pharmaceutical company. The travails of researching for new drugs, the pushing of over the counter medicines, the terrible errors, like Thalidomide, of drug companies, the self seeking hearings by Senate committees castigating the drug industry, are all woven into the story, as also the tricks employed by drug companies to get FDA approval for their products. The book is very well researched, and is eminently readable.
The review of this Book prepared by Rohit Gangwani