The Merck DruggernautThe Inside Story of a Pharmaceutical Giant
An in-depth look at big pharma's flagship company The Merck Druggernaut takes readers inside Merck, the world's second most profitable drug company and maker of the world's bestselling drug, Prilosec. Consistently named one of Fortune magazine's Most Admired Companies, Merck struggles to maintain its reputation for being the most ethical of the big drug makers, refusing to slash research and development budgets in the face of declining profits, falling stock market prices, and questionable accounting. Author Fran Hawthorne, one of the leading journalists covering healthcare, has written an excellent examination of a business paragon with much-needed insight on the cutthroat world of pharmaceuticals. It's a story that will interest the business world as well as consumer and healthcare advocates by detailing the vital issues in medicine and healthcare today. More than just a compelling story of success in a difficult industry, more than simply the biography of one of big business's most recognizable names, The Merck Druggernaut takes a thoughtful look at some of the major issues of our time and the way those issues intertwine with the world of business. Fran Hawthorne (New York, NY) is the Assistant Managing Editor at Crain's New York Business. She has been covering business for more than twenty years for such publications as Fortune, BusinessWeek, and Institutional Investor, with a prevailing interest in healthcare and pharmaceuticals. At Crain's, she spearheads the publication of two to three special healthcare issues per year.
Acknowledgments. Introduction. Chapter 1. In the Bull's-Eye. Chapter 2. From Little Pharmacy to Big Pharma. Chapter 3. Off the Cutting Edge. Chapter 4. The Drugs of Tomorrow. Chapter 5. The Freebie Circuit. Chapter 6. Just Like Toothpaste. Chapter 7. "It Is Not for the Profits", Part One: Prices and Politics. Chapter 8. "It Is Not for the Profits", Part Two: The AIDS Debacle. Chapter 9. Living with Mother Merck. Chapter 10. A Different Business Model. Notes. Bibliography. Index.
FRAN HAWTHORNE, a senior contributing editor of Institutional Investor, has connections deep within the business and finance communities. Hawthorne has been covering business and healthcare for more than twenty years for such publications as Fortune, BusinessWeek, and Crain's New York Business. She is the author of Inside the FDA, which is also published by Wiley.
"We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear. The better we have remembered that, the larger they have been." –George W. Merck In the highly competitive world of pharmaceuticals, George W. Merck's motto may seem like an unrealistic vision, but it is this exact image that has separated Merck from the rest of Big Pharma–for better or for worse. Whether speaking in terms of product or philanthropy, numbers or niceties, Merck, for decades, set the benchmark for its industry. But what happens when profitable drug patents expire, research on new drugs runs into problems, and an industry's image comes under attack? The Merck Druggernaut offers the intriguing inside story of this incredibly secretive pharmaceutical giant–from where it has been and where it is, to where it might be going. Through interviews with individuals who work and have worked at Merck, as well as those outside the company, healthcare and business journalist Fran Hawthorne weaves an engaging tale of two Mercks. On the one hand, you'll watch as a company, beloved by investors and headed by such legendary leaders as George W. Merck and P. Roy Vagelos, discovers a treatment for river blindness in Africa and hands out the drug for free. You'll also learn how Merck developed groundbreaking medications for diseases that previously had no effective products–Mevacor and Zocor® for cholesterol as well as Crixivan® for AIDS. On the other hand, you'll witness a company whose struggle to produce great new drugs coincides with a sharp decline in its stock price as well as profits. You'll also get an up-close and personal look at how doctors, insurance companies, generic drug makers, and politicians are confronting Merck, as well as the rest of the pharmaceutical industry. More than just a compelling story of success in a difficult industry, more than simply the biography of one of big business's most recognizable names, The Merck Druggernaut takes a thoughtful look at some of today's major healthcare issues and the way those issues intertwine with the world of business. The Merck Druggernaut paints a compelling picture of a company that has everyone asking: Can Merck ever be Merck again?
PRAISE FOR The Merck Druggernaut "Few business stories involve life and death. This one does, and Fran Hawthorne tells it with insight and verve. This is an important book for anyone who has ever taken a pill or prescribed one (or bought a pharmaceutical share). It ought to be read as carefully as the directions on a prescription bottle." —Firth Calhoun, Editor at Large, Institutional Investor "Fran Hawthorne has produced a compelling, detail-rich account of how the once-mighty Merck has fallen from its perch atop the drug industry amid the turmoil that has shaken all the players in the business. Anyone seeking to understand the vast changes this critical industry has undergone in recent years should read The Merck Druggernaut." —Hilary Rosenberg, author of The Vulture Investors and A Traitor to His Class
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