The Merck DruggernautInside The FDAPension DumpingThe Overloaded LiberalEthical Chic

The New York Times, March 23, 2003
The Merck Druggernaut

“Ms. Hawthorne … has done the hard work of interviewing everyone from Merck sales representatives and doctors who prescribe Merck drugs all the way up to the former chief executive, P. Roy Vagelos. … As the title of her book indicates, Ms. Hawthorne is critical of the pharmaceutical industry. Unlike some other critics, however, she understands and communicates the incredible complexity of discovering new drugs and introducing them to the market. … Ms. Hawthorne frames the debate well. To many people, she says, pharmaceutical companies are ‘greedy Godzillas.’ She writes: ‘They charge impoverished grandmothers outrageous prices for medicines the grandmas can’t live without, they spend billions of dollars on commercials to tempt us to buy expensive drugs we don’t need, they try to muscle out cheaper generic rivals and keep their own drugs on patent longer than the law allows – so that they can rake in the highest profits of any industry in America.’ Yet, she adds, ‘they pour billions of dollars and years and years of effort into solid, sometimes groundbreaking research that can result in medicines that genuinely make people’s lives better.’

The Boston Globe, March 27, 2005,
Inside the FDA

“The book is at its best when it reveals true ‘insider’ nuggets such as when drug companies tap members of Congress to lobby the FDA commissioner for a specific drug’s quicker approval. … The book is ambitious in attempting to cover the first 100 years of the FDA’s history and in pointing to challenges in the upcoming century for an agency that regulates $1 trillion in products each year. It’s a carefully researched primer that arrives as Congress is poised to bolster the FDA’s ability to ensure drug safety.”,
The Merck Druggernaut

“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.”

Kirkus Reviews
Ethical Chic

” Hawthorne turns an optimistic-but-skeptical eye on a half-dozen companies to dig past the marketing hyperbole and explore actual practices …. Hawthorne’s research provides clear, rational insights into our ethical choices, empowering us to be savvy shoppers.”

Library Journal

“Instead of writing hagiographies of well-known, socially active companies, Hawthorne gives readers an impartial picture of the difficulties of running a profitable company while trying to maintain a positive corporate belief system. … Highly recommended.”

The Overloaded Liberal

” From what to eat to what to invest in, she makes it clear that what seems obvious (American Apparel’s Made in the USA label) is likely far less so under careful observation (American Apparel’s anti-union stance) … this is a solid choice for those willing to dive into the complexity of living with a social conscious in the twenty-first century.”

The New York Journal of Books
The Overloaded Liberal

“[Hawthorne’s] ability to  recognize the realities of everyday life in the midst of social responsibility and admit to her shortcomings is quite refreshing. … when Hawthorne says, “Whatever I do will help make the world a little better. All I can promise is to try and to care,” that seems to be a worthwhile challenge for anyone to take up.”

Third Coast Press, “Chicago’s Progressive Newspaper,’’
Inside the FDA

“In Inside the FDA: The Business and Politics Behind the Drugs We Take and the Food We Eat, Fran Hawthorne, a veteran reporter of politics, industry, and healthcare, takes us inside the FDA in much the same way that The Jungle – the book often credited for inspiring Teddy Roosevelt to get the government involved in food safety – took readers inside the meatpacking industry. Unlike Upton Sinclair’s novel, however, blame in Inside the FDA is rarely assigned in a simple way. …. Those looking for easy answers on food and drug policy will not find them here. What they will find, however, is an invaluable education on how drugs get from test tubes to medicine cabinets and food from genetic labs to grocery shelves, and where the pressure points are along the way.”

DTC Perspectives, June 2005
Inside the FDA and The Merck Druggernaut

“Fran Hawthorne has written a unique book. She really does go inside the FDA to give us the personal stories that go with that regulation. … In 2003 she wrote about Merck in a similar style of interviewing employees, suppliers and consumer groups about Merck. It was a well-written account of how a particular drug company operates. Ms. Hawthorne is very adept at using her sources to illustrate, in her latest book, the personal impact of how the FDA affects us all. … What Ms. Hawthorne has done well is illustrate how a drug gets reviewed, what outside pressures influence that decision and how wrong decisions can harm our citizens.”

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).” – Firth Calhoun, editor-at-large, Institutional Investor magazine

“Anyone seeking to understand the vast changes this critical industry has undergone in recent years should read The Merck Druggernaut.” – Hilary Rosenberg, author, The Vulture Investors and A Traitor to His Class

For Inside the FDA

“Fran Hawthorne has written a vivid and compelling account of the pressures from politicians, industry, and consumers; the scientific uncertainties; the risk-reward compromises; and the constantly changing legal landscape that influences the agency’s life-and-death decisions.” – Clem Morgello, former senior editor, Newsweek

“Inside the FDA makes plain how powerful and controversial the Food and Drug Administration has become. People seeking to understand the government’s role in health care and the biotech revolution would be wise to read Ms. Hawthorne’s book.” – Elizabeth MacBride, former managing editor, Crain’s New York Business

For Pension Dumping

WINNER, EXCELLENCE IN FINANCIAL JOURNALISM, 2009, awarded by the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants

“Will retirement security be an oxymoron for most Americans? Fran Hawthorne’s Pension Dumping offers a clear-eyed, provocative look at the critically important world of pensions.”
Barbara Rudolph
Author, Disconnected
International Editor, The Deal

“Having lived through the S&L crisis, I can’t help but wonder what policy makers might have done had they been presented with a concise, cogent description of the gathering of the perfect storm before events unfolded. Fran Hawthorne has written such a book for pension policy makers. Let’s hope they take heed.”
Olena Berg Lacy
Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, 1993–1998

Pension Dumping is also a Book of the Month selection (May 2008) for and listed as Recommended Reading by the Pension Rights Center

For The Overloaded Liberal

“With a welcome mixture of facts and humor, Fran Hawthorne highlights the dilemmas of living an environmentally virtuous, healthy life in a fiercely consumption-oriented culture.”
– Michael Jacobson, executive director, Center for Science in the Public Interest

“People are quickly learning that living a simple, low-impact life actually isn’t so simple. Thankfully, there’s much-needed relief to be found in Fran Hawthorne’s funny, poignant, and often eye-opening way of sorting through the dilemmas – and solutions – facing socially and environmentally minded consumers.” – Greg Melville, author, Greasy Rider

For Ethical Chic

“Fran Hawthorne digs beneath the surface of some of America’s most beloved companies… Bravo to Ethical Chic for helping to illuminate which companies are on the right track.”
– Daniel C. Esty, co-author, Green to Gold

“Hawthorne goes beyond the usual categories of ‘social responsibility’ to offer a remarkably clear-eyed view of what we should really expect from companies—and what we shouldn’t. Ethical Chic will change the way you see the products lining the supermarket shelves, and even maybe the supermarket itself.”  ———Michael Blanding, author of The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink

“In her deep dive into the CSR of six American companies, Hawthorne explores the question: Are they really socially responsible or are they deceiving us with image hype? This is a must-read for consumers who want to purchase with a conscience.”
– Linda Golodner, president (emeritus), National Consumers League

“Fran Hawthorne’s illuminating book will delight fans of ‘corporate social responsibility’ — and enrage its critics. Her descriptions of Apple, for example, … aptly captures the essence of the debate.”
– Adam Lashinsky, author of Inside Apple

“Hawthorne, financial journalist and editor, sets out to determine if a company can be trendy yet socially responsible …. A very informative book.” —Booklist

Inside the books
The Merch DruggernautInside The FDAPension DumpingThe Overloaded LiberalEthical Chic

(Click image to download sample)


Introduction: The Image
Chapter 1: Tom’s of Maine — Woodstock Toothpaste
Chapter 2: Timberland — How Green Is My Leather
Chapter 3: Starbucks — Coffee as a Brand Name
Chapter 4: Apple — The Coolest of Them All
Chapter 5: Trader Joe’s — Are We Having Fun Yet?
Chapter 6: American Apparel — Sex and the T-Shirt
Chapter 7: The Reality

At Beacon Press, contact Caitlin Meyer


Chapter 1: Juggling Lessons
Chapter 2: Morals at the Mall
Chapter 3: Can an Ethical Liberal Eat Meat? (and Other Food-Related Quandaries)
Chapter 4: Enough Green, Already!
Chapter 5: Beyond Apartheid and Tobacco: Redefining Social Investing
Chapter 6: The People Who Make Our Stuff
Chapter 7: The Price of Purity
Chapter 8: How the Experts Set Their Priorities
Chapter 9: My Choices

At Beacon Press, contact Caitlin Meyer



Part 1: The Reasons
Chapter 1: The Dispensable Pension Plan
Chapter 2: Last in Line: The Retiree
Chapter 3: Pension-Free and Ready to Compete—Or Not?

Part 2: The Laws
Chapter 4: Writing the Rules
Chapter 5: Failure’s Fallout: LTV and Other Precedents
Chapter 6: The Bankruptcy Court Minuet

Part 3: The Investors
Chapter 7: How Investors Play the Game
Chapter 8: The Signs of Failure
Chapter 9: Pensionless Restructuring
Chapter 10: The Emergence of US Airways
Chapter 11: The Reemergence of US Airways

Part 4: The Future
Chapter 12: The Problem Continues
Chapter 13: The Next to Fail
Chapter 14: The Politics

Chapter 1: Case Study: Chasing Cancer
Chapter 2: Beyond Science
Chapter 3: The First 100 Years
Chapter 4: “You Don’t Always Know Which Agency Is in Charge”
Chapter 5: Truckloads of Paper
Chapter 6: Case Study: The Return of Thalidomide
Chapter 7: How Picky Is the FDA?
Chapter 8: How Powerful Is Industry?
Chapter 9: Case Study: The Death of Monica George
Chapter 10: When Consumers Get Angry
Chapter 11: A Political Pawn
Chapter 12: FDA and DNA
Chapter 13: The FDA Meets Madison Avenue
Chapter 14: Frivolous Drugs?
Chapter 15: The Next 100 Years

Copyright 2005, Inside the FDA, Fran Hawthorne

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

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

Copyright 2003, The Merck Druggernaut, Fran Hawthorne

This material is used by permission of John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

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