Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Trial: My Review

The Trial
Author: Larry Thompson
Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Would you chance taking a drug that cures sinus problems, bronchitis and many other ordinary ailments knowing that the side effects might prove fatal? Do you believe everything the drug companies tell you about a new and improve drug that can cure so many illnesses but might leave you with others? Just how far will a drug company go for profits and to soar above the rest? At whose expense will they do clinical trials and how much money is enough before they finally stop risking the lives of the people who pay for it? An executive leaves his pregnant wife and says he forgot something at the office but in reality he fighting for his life. Incriminating disks that would implicate a drug company will cost him his life. Burning the duplicates at home he is supposed to meet someone to give over the originals but things do not go as planned and he’s killed but the murder is made to look like a suicide.

Samantha Vaughn is a young girl who is a victim of this drug company after consenting or agreeing to be part of their clinical research. One of the side effects of this drug is a liver problem and Exxacia the drug in question is the reason. Luke Vaughn, her father is horrified at the news that his 19-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with hepatitis only to learn the cause of her illness is this new drug or antibiotic. When the executives of the company meet to discuss the new drug that has been given to many patients in South America and over seas, Alfred Kingsbury the head of Ceventa the Pharmaceutical Company that created this drug and the Director Dr. Roger Boatwright are only concerned about profits and not lives. Launching the drug in South America and Europe first and hoping to bring it to the states next. But, when one employee named Ralph Kinney questions him at the meeting Kingsbury decides to take more than just action against him. Luke Vaughn is a lawyer who works from home doing wills and contracts. When Samantha develops liver failure and needs a new liver he decides to sue the company that created the drug for her care.

Luke Vaughn was a trial lawyer dealing with trying lawsuits. While litigating a case against Ford he collapsed in the courtroom. Learning he had a perforated ulcer and need surgery was a definite wake up call for Luke. When Samantha comes to visit her father in the hospital after his surgery what happens was not exactly what he hoped for. Deciding to move to San Marcos and leaving Houston angered the 13 year old. Feeling deserted and abandoned by both parents her exact words. Knowing her mother left her at age three and her father was consumed with work and too busy for her she turns to the only constant in her life, her nanny Theresa.

Let’s learn about the rest of the players before moving ahead. Roger Boatwright is Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. It is his job to decide if a drug is safe. With the power of the pen he can either approve or veto an application. But, Roger is not really concerned about drug safety. Considering the drug companies his clients he rarely if ever declines an application. Exxacia is the latest drug in question. Assigning the application process to his best medical reviewer was a formality to him. But, Ryan Sinclair and his team took their jobs seriously and he would not sign off on a drug unless he thoroughly researches every aspect of it and more. This antibiotic was supposed to treat many different types of infections would Sinclair found odd. Certain infections would not respond to the same drug. Alfred Kingsbury had other ideas for Ceventa. Creating 8 off shore corporations was one in order to get richer, secretly buy stock in the company and funnel it to 8 separate corporations with the help of a bank of his choice. Choices were made and deals under the table as the case was presented to the Advisory Committee on Infectious Diseases and the end result the pharmaceutical company would do a clinical trial to prove the drug safe. Boatwright was on notice from Kingsbury to get the drug passed this time.

Samantha Vaughn decided to rebel and do her own thing until getting arrested for drunk driving. Never figuring her father would not bail her out she just might learn more than just a lesson in who her friends should be and being a responsible driver. Added into the mix are Luke’s old friend and new girlfriend and lawyer Sue Ellen plus his tenant Whizmo who seems to be a good influence on Samantha. But, there is much more before we learn of Samantha’s participation in the clinical study.

Samantha decided to work for her father and enjoyed her classes at college too. But, when she decided to become part of the clinical study for Exxacia her life would drastically change and the end result would be heartbreaking. Taking her to the doctor and learning the real cause of her sleeping so much and yellow skin Luke goes on a search for answers starting with the doctor who gave her drugs, learning what drug it was and suing him hoping to learn more. But, Samantha’s health does not improve and although the drug passes through the FDA and is now being marketed all over the US and other countries the people that create it are blind to what is going to happen next. Kingsbury and Boatwright are in it for the money. Ryan Sinclair’s voice was silenced. What happens next let’s the reader know that author Larry D. Thompson brings to light what happens when huge pharmaceutical companies run the risk of getting FDA approval at all monetary costs and care less about the public. Knowing the side effects and that all infections cannot be treated with the same antibiotic did not stop the strong armed tactics used to get the drug approved. From murder to cover ups to deceit lies and betrayals this author brings it all out clearly, succinctly in language the reader can easily understand with a plot with characters with distinct personalities and whose relationships change and grow throughout the novel. Luke Vaughn is definitely a character the author can bring back for more medical/legal thrillers.

When Luke decides to team up with his girlfriend and the lawyer for the doctor who gave Samantha the pills things start to heat up not just for them but for Ceventa too. Dealing with the lawyer from Ceventa she learns that the judge would not allow any demands and the drug company would be in for a big fight to save Samantha’s life before time runs out. Samantha needs a liver transplant thanks to Exxacia. When the team assembled and went through the discs and information the drug company sent many red flags appeared as the number of subjects did not match the total they stated they had and the number of sites that information was supposed to appear were gone.

Roger Boatwright was deposed but the team never knew that he was prepared and claimed he delivered the entire clinical trial for Luke. As Luke questioned Boatwright the inconsistencies found in the discs came out but he denied any knowledge or that these things could happen. But, when Ryan Sinclair goes to Luke to explain what he knows his house is burned to the ground and his car is bombed. Just who is behind it I am sure the reader can figure that out for themselves but there is much more to this story as the author brings to light not only the underhandedness of the drug company, their cavalier attitude and their disregard for human lives. Added to the mix are the dangers for the subjects who were not given the fact beforehand regarding the drug and the side effects plus the forging of the charts and records. It makes you wonder if this is fact or fiction.

The trial is emotional as one young boy is kidnapped and Sue Ellen gives Luke an ultimatum. The end result and the verdict you need to read for yourself. Sometimes out of something bad better is the end result. One drug company that thought it would get away with it all. The verdict handed down you will have to learn for yourself as Luke, Whizmo, Samantha, Brad and many others prove that reading the fine print and between the lines will find the truth. Larry D. Thompson’s research and understanding of the corruption behind much of what any drug company is capable of doing is presented in a succinct and crystal clear manner. The jury trial and the events leading up are vividly and candidly described making it easy for the reader to follow and understand. One judge named Nimitz who proves that small towns have powerful judges. Never underestimate the power of the bench. Let’s hope Larry D. Thompson brings this team back for more. A great legal thriller and a great way to teach kids respect.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

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