The question put to Rochester author Paul John Scott about his new novel was simple: Can it be this bad in the real world?
Scott, a veteran health and science writer, has written his first novel. Called “Malcharist,” it is a completely made-up story about a potentially dangerous drug being put on the market — with outsourced drug trial research, ghostwritten studies, lack of access to raw drug-trial data, and doctors essentially paid to champion new drugs.
It is fiction, right?
“As far as I know the basic mechanisms depicted in this … are all still humming along,” he said this week in an e-mail exchange. “But the book is indeed a heightened convergence of those practices for sure.”
Scott’s novel is the first published by Samizdat Health Writer’s Cooperative, a Canadian publisher addressing the broad category of health information. This publisher clearly thinks Scott has created a story grounded