Inflection Point: War and Sacrifice in Corporate America
There is a known drug called Atorvastatin that can treat high cholesterol and triglyceride levels to help you get your blood pressure under control and alleviate some strain on your heart. It is a potent drug with a well-covered and renowned history first manufactured and patented by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer that, at one point, was the highest grossing drug in history, grossing billions of dollars a year for the company. You know it better as Lipitor. This is the story of Lipitor and Pfizer and one woman’s career with the company as head of the legal team battling those looking to infringe on the patents.
Inflection Point is a business story, a pharmaceutical story, a sociological story, and a personal, emotional story. Traci Medford-Rosow talks about her career working as an important member of the legal counsel for Pfizer during the days when a drug called Lipitor reigned supreme. She discusses the amount of work and money Pfizer put in to developing this revolutionary drug and how, for a while, profits were through the roof and everyone was happy., Then the lawsuits starting coming, challenging the patents for Lipitor, calling for a generic and more affordable version of the drug be made available to consumers. Medford-Rosow goes into the detail with the hearings and the lawsuits, the wins at first, then the losses, then the domino effect of multiple lawsuits attacking the patents around the world. The author reveals the chinks in the foundation, then the cracks, as things begin to fall apart. The newly appointed CEO for the company begins making drastic cuts, while the legal team begins to wither as people leave. Medford-Rosow makes the biggest decision of her life and leaves Pfizer to start a private practice with a good friend.
Inflection Point is also the story of Traci, her life, and the toll working for Pfizer took on her. The stress and strain over the years. There were certainly some good times that the great lawyer benefited from, but the tough dark times were brutal, creating tension with her family that short, quick vacations could not fix. Then there was the damage to her own body as she kept pushing herself, which led to surgery and months and years of physical therapy and recovery. It wasn’t until she was in her own practice with some physical distance and the distance of time that made her want to tell her story.
The chapters are short, and, at times, the story feels a little too short as readers want to know more, but Medford-Rosow doesn’t get lost in the details. She explains legalese, where necessary, as well as some of the medical jargon and even a brief history of Pfizer, but keeps the story moving at a quick pace with a good writing style that keeps the reader interested. While, at times, it does seem a little hard to feel that empathetic for her, as she and her family made a lot of money from Pfizer and have lived a good and extravagant life because of it, she and all the people she talks about in Inflection Point are real people with real lives, and the toll and pressure they suffered was very real. The book is an interesting and sobering read into a world few know much about.