Guernsey McPearson's Book (B) and Film (F) Reviews.


B: Confessions of a Tight-Rope Walker. A taught tale of sex, balance and trials (of life). 'Compulsive reading', NIH Observer. 'Compulsory reading', FDA Herald.

B: Gone with the Wind. Battle of the superbitches in Tinseltown. Fading beauty Tara Met is upstaged by stunning starlet Zana Tac. But who is the glamorous young thing who has just driven up in the Astra? Hardback £86, generic, £2.50.

F: Maximum Likelihood. BLUE movie of a statistician and how he fits his model.

B: Optimal Experimental Design. Some classic fables given a new treatment.

B: Cross-over Designs. The life and work of Brassière. Full of interest, if somewhat padded. 'A storm in a D-cup', Lingerie Enquirer.

B: Ten Little Indians. A gripping tale of a pharmaceutical company's portfolio of blockbusters. First there are ten, then one is eliminated but does it stop there? Nein! The horror continues and pretty soon it's me two. Can the dreadful process of attrition be halted before the CEO has to resign? 'I was held enthralled right to the end.' Merger Magazine.

F: When the Screening Began. Classic horror, as the CPMP (the muscles from Brussels) brings its saga of clinical trials and drug development to the big screen. The titles alone take one hour to roll. 'The plot was lousy, but boy what a cast', Census Bureau Telegraph.

F: The Big Ski See. Would-be moguls on the moguls. All the spills and thrills of the piste (p***d?) with those bright young CRA's on their chalet holiday. They ski some and break some and then the film is over. 'The plot was lousy but boy what a plaster cast' Gordon Bleu. (Some mistake surely, Ed.)

F: The Usual Suspects. Failure to register, leads the head of development to try an old and trusted remedy. 'An apocalyptic tale of paranoia and persecution' Nostrum Damus Times.

F: National Lottery. Riveting epic of a pools syndicate who do what they do best: pooling. Watch them pool those results until they get the magic numbers. 'A block-buster', Meta Analysis Mercury.

B: A Whole Can of Worms. Sub group analysis. 'I wasted a term' Reverend Spooner (think about it (twice)).

F: The Man with the Golden Parachute. A story of life at the top at the chop. Fairly predictable thriller in the apparently endless Bond, shares and options series with one novel twist: instead of the seven having two zeros in front of it, it has six behind.

F: Sequential Analysis. Tight-fisted and boring statistician, Silas Martingale, gloats over his money every night. Little does the mean square realise his error. Repeatedly looking at his money like this is causing it to lose its value! One day he wakes up heartbroken to realise that he's spent his alpha for nothing. 'Incredible!' Fortean Times.

F: Sequential Analysis, the Sequel. A cricketing tale of a lonely fielder's life at the boundary. 'Unfortunately this tends to overrun'. Narcolepsy News

F: The Sting.An everyday tale of consultants to the pharmaceutical industry. 'Inspiring and uplifting' Double Glazer's Gazette.

F: Four Weddings and a Funeral. Merger madness in the boardroom can only postpone the final reckoning. 'What they really needed was a huge grant' Business Broadsheet.

B: Clinical Trial. Power obsessed statistician drives her physician partner to the edge of a nervous breakdown by complaining that it isn't big enough. His pleas of 'couldn't we try for one anyway?' are treated with the contempt they deserve. 'Proves that size isn't everything' Hypothesis Tester Times.

F: With Intention to Treat. Power hungry executive is obsessed with winning and coming on top, sacrificing social relationships to professional ambitions. Then one day she meets a man who makes her appreciate that it's the thought that counts.

F: Panic in Needle Park. Soul-searing documentary of scandal in the medical school. Twenty four otherwise healthy students apparently shooting up at hourly intervals. Then they come back and do it again. 'This generic crime is a blot on society', Brandnames and Trademarks Weekly.

F: Medicine Man. Romantic but improbable tale (similar to Forest Rump ) in which scientists struggle to save the world's forests from destruction by dossier-mad regulators. Eventually they achieve a CANDA loving.

B: With Extreme Prejudice. An exposé of the CIA and the KGB in the icy years of the cold war. Incredibly, they made the mistake of conducting trials without randomisation. 'Early to bed and early to rise and always always randomise' National Lottery Observer (some mistake surely, Ed.)

B: Phony Mobile. True life story of the entrepreneur who sets up an agency to provide surrogate phone partners. He makes a fortune by enabling all those nerds who ring up their wives on the train, just to show they have one, a better reason to play with it. 'Simple but brilliant', Laptop Lovers Weekly.

F: The Bonferroni Correction. Would-be tough guy makes the mistake of trying everything until he's caught. Only in prison does he learns the true meaning of significance.

F Proportional Hazard. Classic film noir. An only partially likely story of death and survival. 'If you want rewards you've got to take risks,' is the hero's philosophy. Then he crosses the hazard.

B Of Mice and Men. An everyday tail of life in the tox lab. Sequel to the Voyage of the Beagle.

B Marys Poppem. A sort of cross-between, Valley of the Dolls, and Mrs Beaton in which crazy nannies swallow uppers and downers like there's no tomorrow. The ideal gift for any marketing friends. (Do marketers have friends? Ed.) 'The most curious work I have read since A Hale View of Pills. A guide to how to run a tight ship.' The Reverend Spooner.

F Carry on Developing. The usual mixture of slapstick and double entendres mixed to a tried and trusted me-too formula. 'Develop or bust,' says one character. 'Did you say, "your,"?,' says another.

F Star-Trek: the Third Phase. It turns out that the two previous series were just the warm up. This is the real thing, as our heroes prepare to boldly face a series of trials and set their phases to 'stun'. Meanwhile a dreaded and sinister all-powerful figure, known only as 'the regulator', forbids the use of warp factors. See them clingon in the hope of success. 'Plenty of interesting special effects but the treatment as a whole was disappointing' Quasar Quarterly.

F Big. A normal company wishes it were huge and wakes up one day to find itself in a merger. Life is not as enjoyable as it supposed. Pretty soon the returns come in and it shrinks back again sadder and wiser. 'Made me understand regression to the mean for the first time.' The Market Messenger

F Ghost in the Water. Strange story of homeopathic medicine. Sceptical scientist doesn't believe in it. Then one day he forgets to take his medicine......and overdoses!

F A River Runs Through It. Small town saga. Three sponsors spend their time together fishing hopefully. Then there are only two.

Guernsey McPearson's Film Review Part II


The Mummy Returns. A grizzly tale of horror. The mother of all regulatory dossiers is dead and buried. Then it comes back to haunt all those who handled it.


Enemy at the Gates. An almighty battle is taking place. The sponsor is besieging the gates of the regulatory office. Now each side sends in a top expert to take the other's case out.


Enemies of the Gates. They tried everything to break up his empire. They accused him of unfair marketing, abuse of monopolistic power; they even threw anti-trust legislation at him. But he wasn't about to go Soft.


Bridget Jones's Diary. Five primary outcomes (bad). Peeked at the trial three times (v bad). Seem to have acquired several new analyses (very very bad). Have lost all hope with Mr Dicey (very very very bad).


Shrek. It's big, it's strong, it's ugly, and it's led by a donkey. It must be a pharmaceutical company. But it turns out it has a heart of gold. Well, this is a fairy story.


Enigma. They were the unsung heroes who worked behind the scenes cracking code like there was no tomorrow. Even version eight did not faze them. Yet amazingly no one had ever heard of them until recently. Now we realise the regulatory war would never have been won without these sassy statistical programmers.


Almost profitable. This has it all: drugs, money, gambling and what's the other one? Touching story of a young biotech who hangs around with the big boys of pharma hoping that somehow the glamour will rub off.


Fiddler on the Roof. He's the man at the top but the results are terrible. Can he massage the figures and survive one more shareholder's meeting? Includes the hit song, "If I were a poor man".


Dr Dolittle. He's kooky, he's useless, he's got a fancy degree, he talks to the animals and how do you think he got that name? Yes, he works in pre-clinical.


Lord of the Rungs. He started as a lowly product manager in marketing but step by step he has inched his way to the top of the volcano. Now the power thing is getting to him and he has developed a hobbit for it. Can he withstand corruption? Will it bring him down or will he soar on?


The Pledge. In a long a career he's cracked many a difficult case. Now, as he is due to retire, he unwisely accepts one last challenge. Can he find the cure for Alzheimer's before it finds him?


The Fifth Element. We have quality we've had safety, we've had efficacy, we've even had value for money. What on earth can it be? Clinical relevance?


Jurassic Park Three. He thought he'd left the pharmaceutical industry for ever but they tempted him back with an offer he couldn't refuse. Now his fate is bound up with a monstrous dinosaur heading for distinction.


Deep Blue Sea. Cute scientist working on a cure for Alzheimer's makes the big mistake of becoming involved with sharks. Had she forgotten that Mummy always told her never to date marketing men?


Saving Grace. Proves that drug development can be done small. Is this the future of pharmaceuticals or just a sign that the industry has gone to pot?


Proof of Life. Pharmacoeconomists hold the drug-development process to ransom demanding QUALY's and NNT's with everything. The case seems lost until the dossier is handed to an expert negotiator, a tough statistician who calls their bluff by demanding proof that these concepts have intellectual meaning.


Evolution. This weird idea comes from way out. Pretty soon its taking over the company and the share price is going through the roof. Then just when it seems that whole industry is being taken over by pharmacogenomics it explodes and disappears leaving goo on everybody's face.



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