The Story of Taxol
Nature and Politics in the Pursuit of an Anti-Cancer Drug

a book by Jordan Goodman & Vivien Walsh


[Review by Kip Sullivan] The Story of Taxol . Nature and Politics in the Pursuit of an Anti-Cancer Drug By Jordan Goodman & Vivien Walsh
The book is about how Bristol-Myers Squibb ripped off U.S. taxpayers and U.S. cancer patients and their insurers. ....The deal the NCI struck with Bristol-Myers raises two questions: Why Bristol-Myers? Why did the NCI fail to extract from Bristol-Myers a promise to return some of the profit from the sale of Taxol to the taxpayers who had financed three decades of research on Taxol? Goodman and Walsh make a reasonable effort to answer the first question; they make no effort to answer the second. They discuss the possibility that Robert Wittes, an NCI employee from 1983 to 1988, was the link between the NCI and Bristol-Myers who cemented the NCI agreement with Bristol-Myers. Wittes became a vice president at Bristol-Myers in November 1988 just as the discussions about finding a partner for NCI were beginning. He became an NCI employee again in August 1990. But, NCI denied any wrongdoing by Wittes. The authors conclude, [T]he reasons why Bristol-Myers Squibb emerged as the successful contender remains hidden from public view.