- Strong Medicine (novel)
infobox Book |
name = Strong Medicine
image_caption = Front Cover
language = English
isbn = ISBN 0440183669
Strong Medicine is a 1984 novel by
The book begins with two of the chief characters, Celia Jordan and her husband, on a flight home to the US anticipating trouble that the reader is not yet fully in on, involving a certain Senator Donaghue. the action then goes back some 40 years to when Celia, unmarried, was a drug sales rep for a Pharmaceutical company and her husband to be, an intern beginning his career at a New Jersey hospital. Andrew Jordan is perplexed with the case of a young woman dying from hepatitis A, not a usually fatal infection, that she acquired on a cheap holiday in Mexico. Celia happens to know that her company is researching a drug that would combat the womans symptoms, and manages to get through the protocols to find some, and as a last desperate measure, the drug is administered and the woman's life is saved. Next morning, She and Andrew Jordan become engaged, largely it appears, on a whim of Celia's.
Celia quickly turns out to be someone who knows what she wants and gets it, and we soon learn the story of how she came to be in her present selling position, where she has made a name for herself already by going out of the way to become more knowledgable about her job, and after one particularly bruising encounter, earn the respect rather than the ridicule of practising doctors. on their honeymoon the two share their various family histories, Andrew's mother and father having separated and left him to the care of an aunt who has sacrificed all she has to get him to where he is, Celis's father having died in the attack on Pearl Harbour.
On return from work, Celia is engaged to speak at the annual company conference, and is planning a major assault on what she sees as the lack of training and sharp practice that is rife even among her own company. Her manager Sam Hawthorne strongly advises against any such thing, but when Celia goes ahead anyway and delivers her speech, to not great enthusiasm from her company bosses, she is within a whisker of being fired when Sam intervenes to save her. Shortly afterward she is promoted to a new position and then begins a gradual rise through the company, interspersed with bringing up family and gnerally turning out to be a woman who is determined to have the best of both worlds at work and at home, and manages to somehow fit it all in. Strains in the Jordan's marriage however, surface on a posting to Ecuador where both acknowledge they have let their standards slip, Andrew having spent many years covering for his Chief at the hospital, who is a closet drug addict, and due to which at least one patient has died in preventable circumstances.
Sam Hawthorne is promoted in the course of time to company president, after a deathbed encounter between Celia and the president who almost fired her, at his home, at which he urges her to always follow her conscience. Sam quickly makes two far reaching decisions, one disastrous and the other of great benefit to the company. He takes on board a rejected French project to develop an antisickness drug for pregnant women, and at the same time decides, before strong opposition, to fund a British research unit. Celia and Sam visit England to look at prospective sites for the unit, and at the same time meet a young Cambridge researcher, Martin Peat Smith, who is researching memory loss and dementia, spurred on by the case of his mother, who no longer knows him. Sam offers Martin the job of head of the British unit, which Martin at first refuses but then Celia is able to persuade him with some typical crass upfrontness that only she could.
Meanwhile back in the US, Celia has serious misgivings about the Montayne project and ends up resigning from the company, whereupon she and Andrew embark on a round the world tour, ending up in Hawaii where Andrew has secretly arranged a visit to her father's ship, with the children, recalling a wish that Celia revealed on her honeymoon many years before
She is recalled to the company amidst the news that Montayne is indeed the danger that she feared, Sam shortly afterward commits suicide, for reasons that Celia only partly understands, that he gave soe to his daughter whose child is now destroyed. A deeper secret concerning the licensing of the drug and blackmail of the FDA official responsible, a Dr Mace, remains hidden.
Celia takes over as vice president but the board typically refuse to appoint her to the top job. She now has to get the company back on track, and quickly. Unfortunately, Senator Donaghue, a well known two faced politician, has ordered a senate enquiry into Montayne, amidst all the other legal actions that inevitably result. In a heated debate at the senate, Celia discredits Donaghue publicly, earning a brief reprieve but possibly stirring trouble for later on.
Back in England, Martin's research project is bearing little fruit, and has already survived one attempt to close it down by the Felding Roth board. His home life is enriched by a relationship with one of the technicians at the institute, and in circumstances that she doubtless has great amusement in recounting to Celia when they eventually meet, Yvonne makes a chance remark that triggers a new line of enquiry in Martin and the eventual development of a memory enhancing peptide that is eventually developed and becomes a great success for Felding Roth, much to the disdain of the head of research Dr Lord.
The remainder of the book follows the story through more painful times as when eventually Dr Lord develops the drug he has been seeking al his life, a free radical quencher, yet unfortunately his genuinely great discovery is marred by cover ups and procedural irregularities, and in the course of which the blackmail at the FDA also comes to light, leaving Felding Roth and Celia a sitting target for Senator Donaghue, who wants revenge on Celia and as the book closes as they return from the knighting of Martin Peat Smith who is going back to Cambridge, the book ends on a note of what will or won't happen next
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