In this third and final book in the Catching Cold series, two former drug company employees aim to change the culture of big Pharma, where safety regulations take a back seat to profits.
This book picks up in the aftermath of a bomb blast that occurred in the previous book, as Meredith Doucette, the CEO of SSS Pharmaceuticals, struggles to recover from her serious injuries. In her absence, the acting CEO releases a drug to combat autism that has won approval of the Food and Drug Administration, despite Meredith’s protestations.
When children begin dying from the drug, Meredith turns against SSS and takes her fight to court. Meanwhile, Olivia Steadman, once a regulator for another drug company, embarks on a similar fight in the legislature, planning to hold the FDA more accountable. On a third front, Jon DeLeon and his independent team of brilliant scientists is hard at work on his next project: researching the chemical language of cells that may lead to new non-drug treatments for cancer. In the last book, DeLeon’s breakthrough in treating colds potentially upended profitable over-the-counter cold medicines. This breakthrough could likewise disrupt the industry.
If it sounds complicated, it is. Author Lem Moyé has a lot to say on how to rein in Big Pharma, and his ideas are well thought-out. Likewise, his zeal for science is unimpeachable. However, Moyé expects readers to pick up each book right where the last one left off. Characters from previous books come and go, while readers struggle to understand their relevance and backstories.
Still, the book has some redeeming moments: The ending is surprising and even fun; Moyé clearly knows his territory, offering interesting insights on Big Pharma, and his style is very readable. Perhaps by streamlining the many characters and combining the three books into one, he might have real impact on a still relevant – and unresolved – subject du jour.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.