"I'm speculating that Pharmawatch's latest post attracted the attention of legal departments. Hope he realises he has supporters, and that help is available should that be the case."I must have missed that post, but here's a synopsis posted to PharmaGossip (see "Hurrah! - Pharma Watch is back"):
"Mike comments on the blood drugs: Epogen, Procrit and Aranesp and their recent issues raised in The Lancet."
Their editorial is quite restrained, but reading between the lines it is quite clear that the continued unsafe use of these drugs and these unethical trials are being driven by "commercial reasons".Legally, how do you shut down a blog for saying something as innocuous as that?
The authors also mention that when another renal expert tried to highlight this appalling situation in an editorial accompanying one of the earlier trials showing adverse effects, it was rejected by the New England Journal of Medicine and eventually ended up in the Wall Street Journal of all places.
Shame on the NEJM (but after the Vioxx fiasco this is hardly surprise).
What I think is that "Michael Lascelles" (an alias), author of Pharma Watch, has been outed! And he is being shut down by his employers.
I had a correspondence with "Mike" way back in June 2005 before the Big Bang launched the Pharma Blogosphere as we know it today. Here's what he had to say about his blog and what motivates him: (see "Pharma BloggoSphere Update"):
"Why do I do it? I'm just doing it to let of a bit of steam about what I see happening to medicine under the increasing influence of pharmaceutical companies.Mike may now be in the "very difficult position" he envisioned if his real identity was known. Although I agree with Anonymous, who said "Hope he realises he has supporters, and that help is available should that be the case," I'm afraid we might never hear from Pharma Watch again!
"I'm a pharmacologist and work in an institution that has links with several pharma companies. Over the last decade I've seen us becoming increasingly reliant on pharma funding and our managers have become increasingly nervous about what we say and do in relation to pharma companies. Therefore my blog, under a pseudonym, is a way of saying what I can’t say in public. If I blogged under my own name I’d be in a very difficult situation, to say the least.
"Most of my material comes from what I read in the local papers or what I find when surfing the net. As part of my work I have to keep up with a lot of medical journals, and there is more and more commentary in them too. I also get a lot of feedback on the blog now, which gives me leads and stuff to follow up. The blog also acts as a way of passing on what a lot of my friends and colleagues are saying, and the unease they are feeling about the influence of pharma companies.
“Unlike the more comprehensive and well written blogs like Pharma Marketing Blog, mine makes no attempt to be fair, accurate or reasonable. I'm not a journalist and don't have time to get all my facts right or follow things up. I’m just writing my own point of view, take it or leave it.
"My blog is not 'balanced' because I don't think you can be on this. I see it as my little [unpaid, part time] voice against a huge marketing and propaganda juggernaut that can afford to pay PR companies to work full time on their lavish campaigns, and an army of heavy duty lobbyists to sweet talk the politicians."