Wednesday, February 7, 2007

This Week in the Blogosphere: Gardasil

The following is a sampling of Gardasil sightings in the pharma blogosphere.

Pharma Marketing Blog: In the post "Gardasil: To Be Mandatory or Not To Be Mandatory -- That is the Question," blogger John Mack points out that the Gardasil controversy raised several issues: promiscuity, parents' rights, drug risk vs. benefit, even disease mongering through lobbying. Mack concludes that "maybe it's not a good idea on the grounds of unknown risk to force mandatory vaccinations at this time. Merck, therefore, should back off from lobbying states to make it mandatory." What do you think -- take the Pharma Marketing Blog Poll.

BrandweekNRX: Jim Edwards obviously agrees with Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine that Gardasil is "Brand of the Year." See the post "Gardasil: Brand of the Year? Journalists like Jim could never express their opinions like this in the articles they write for their publications. We know they HAVE opinions, but without the blogs we'd have to infer what they are by reading between the lines. There isn't anything between the lines in blogs -- at least there shouldn't be. Except perhaps in corporate hack blogs. By this standard, BrandweekNRX certainly isn't a hack job! But what about Jim's articles in Brandweek? In his blog, Jim focuses his criticism on the promiscuity issue and puts himself squarely against the religious right. Now that I know his opinion of a major issue for the religious right, can I trust that his reporting on this topic in that publication will be "journalistic" (ie, balanced)? Again, I have to ask: will journalists change blogging or will blogging change journalism?

Pharmalot: This is another journalist blog. It's somewhat more difficult to read where Ed Silverman -- Phamalot's author -- stands on the issue of mandatory vaccination against HPV. I've read his post on the subject -- "The Lone Vaccine State: A Row in Texas" -- and cannot tell if he is for or agin' the Texas mandate that he writes about. Ed does cover all the issues and concludes "the overriding public policy concern here is finding the best way to promote good public health. Unfortunately, any number of state lawmakers may also benefit from industry support as they debate and promote the vaccine issue. That kind of bonus doesn't spawn confidence that the right thing is being done for the right reason. But there's no vaccine for that." From this, I conclude that Ed would vote that Merck should press on for mandatory vaccinations but not through aggressive lobbying (and politician payola).

World of DTC Marketing: In the recent post "A prime example of whats wrong with Pharma (Gardasil)," Rich Myer accuses Merck of putting "profits ahead of good medicine." He's ticked off about the price, lack of insurance coverage, and difficulty that physicians seem to having stocking the vaccine. He makes some good points. But Rich, you got to give the "We try never to forget that medicine is for the people" quote a rest! Seriously dude!

eDrug Search: I love the headline ("Mandatory Gardasil in Texas: Perry’s motives are a bit Merck-y"). I'll have to use "Merck-y" next timeI'm critical of Merck. Anyway, Cary is focused on the ties that Governor Perry has with Merck, which he picked up from News Hounds ("They eat their own - TX Governor Rick Perry under fire from just about everyone for mandatory vaccinations"): "Two of Perry’s former chiefs of staff currently work for Merck, and the mother of one of them is involved in lobbying for this … Has Perry just caved in for Merck? … His former c-o-s is being paid $250,000 by Merck to lobby for this, a Texas state legislator (Diane White Delisi) is pushing for it and working with Merck, and her daughter-in-law is the current chief of staff." Cary could have mentioned that Perry received a $6,000 political donation from Merck when he was running for office. Not that's there's anything wrong with that!

PharmaGossip: Nada about the current brouhaha over mandatory vaccination. Maybe the Insider will have an opinion later. It's always a good idea not to be too far ahead of the pack. You might just say something you regret. But Insider protects his identity very well, so I'm sure he doesn't give a crap about regrets.

Drug Injury Watch: Gardasil is not yet among the Rx products being tracked on this lawyer's(Tom Lamb) blog. Keep an eye out though for future lawsuits -- even class action lawsuits. I wonder if Merck has pit some money aside to deal with that possibility? What do you think Tom?

Drug Wonks: I was hoping that these guys would take up the issue of Gardasil and drug risk-benefit analysis. That would be right up their alley. Haven't seen it though.

That's all for now!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was good to see that Merck is going to stop its aggressive lobbying of having their new vaccine mandated by states as being required for young girls.