Dr. Peter Rost recently released this book, subtitled “Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman.” The Whistleblower describes his experience as a pharmaceutical executive with three different companies (Wyeth, Pharmacia, and Pfizer), focusing on some questionable practices that went on behind the scenes, and his efforts to cope with the legal and professional ramifications.
It’s engaging reading, and disturbing at the same time, with the expected doses of corporate intrigue, dirty tricks, legal maneuvering, etc. As I mentioned in a recent post, the pharma industry has no corner on the market of either virtue or vice, and there is certainly some unsavory stuff revealed in these pages. However, while reading it, the quiet voice of experience continued to remind me, chapter by chapter, that “there are two sides to every story.” This book is one side.
Pfizer managed – twice – to acquire companies (Warner-Lambert and Pharmacia) that had some dubious marketing skeletons in their closets. Dr. Rost was in the process of trying to get Pharmacia to clean up its act in his franchise (Genotropin) when the acquistion occurred, and the subsequent problems unfolded when Pfizer inherited the legacy issues (and people) surrounding this franchise. How all of this was handled and mishandled is the focus of this book.
Dr. Rost is evidently a man of no small ego, from what I can gather out of this book and his blog – not always a bad trait, as those with a strong ego drive often are the ones who persevere to accomplish big things. And I will give the man this – he’s got guts. He put it out on the line personally and professionally, when he thought there was wrongdoing. Love him, hate him, or scratch your head in perplexity – he’s got some steel in his spine.
Of course, it is impossible to verify the veracity of everything contained in this – or any similar – book. However, The Whistleblower does provide some clear warning signals, and if its end result is to make corporations tread more carefully and transparently, then perhaps good will come of it.