First, Mike Zubillaga was fired by AZ. Then Don Imus was fired by CBS! Both for saying something stupid! It goes to show that employees everywhere, not just in pharmaceutical companies, do dumb things.
But these incidents are connected in another way: bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere may have played a role in getting these guys fired.
Peter Rost (Question Authority; damn! another reference to Rost which will raise him even higher on the topics list! I'm sure he'll note this in his blog!) was quick to take credit for Zube's demise. I don't think anyone in the Pharma Blogosphere would dispute that. See "Peter Rost gets an AstraZeneca employee fired." (Medical Weblog)
But did you know that a famous Pharma Blogosphere blogger may have been partially responsible for the firing of Imus? And who would this blogger be? Why, me, of course! Whaaa?!! you say? It's true. Here's how I figure it.
First, I call upon GSK to pull its ads from the Imus in the Morning show (see "Glaxo, Pull Your Imus Ads!"). That was posted at 6 AM on Wednesday, April 11. At around 5 PM that day I notice a post on PharmaGossip reporting that GSK pulled its ads ("GSK pulls ads from Imus' show").
All that day, I had been watching my Web logs and noticed that GSK and their PR agency people were reading the post (Peter Rost is not the only blogger that reads his log files and reveals the identity of his readers, but that's another story). Then, GSK announces it will pull their ads! (look here and here).
But GSK doesn't issue any kind of statement, as did P&G, citing "we're accountable first to our consumers." Instead of putting their consumers first, GSK put itself first: "The bottom line is that we have suspended our advertising with MSNBC until we can determine that we can have a level of confidence that our media standards are being adhered to."
Not only does GSK put itself first, it uses the dreaded "bottom line" phrase. This says volumes as to where pharma's priorities lie and until the industry becomes more consumer-centric in both word and deed, they will never win the PR war for the hearts of consumers (for more on that, see "Pharma Still Stinks, But Not as Much as Oil or Tobacco!").
So, I call for GSK to pull its ads --> GSK pulls its ads --> And by pulling their ads, GSK and other advertisers put the screws to CBS, which fires Imus! QED!
But enough about me already!
The Pharma Blogosphere blog is becoming the place to be noticed by bloggers and readers of blogs alike! I no longer have to explore the outer limits of the sphere to find new members -- they come to me!
Whenever I come upon a new blog worthy of being a member, I automatically put it in the "Outer Sphere" column until I can assess whether or not they are truly focused on pharma and are updated often enough. Only those blogs that fit these two criteria make it to the Inner Planet circle of the Pharma Blogosphere.
These new blogs have been added to the "Outer Sphere" recently:
Drug Channels: "Expert viewpoints by Dr. Adam J. Fein on the latest pharmaceutical industry trends affecting manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacies, PBMs, and payers" is its tagline. "My focus is helping manufacturers understand/interact with their supply chain to the patient: pharmacies, wholesalers, PBMs, etc.," says Adam in a personal email.
Labs' Insider : "A journey to the dark side of the pharmaceutical industry" says this blog'stagline. I guess you don't have to guess the bias of the blogger Pierre Tavel, who is Swiss and a student in sociology.
Pharma Ethics, My Foot!: Again, you don't need a mission statement to know where Paul Marinelli, the blogger, stands on pharma issues. I never would have thought anyone would dis the idea of ethics so blatantly, but there you have it. I would like to see Paul actually make a post ABOUT ethics, however.
Focus on Pharmalyst
You may have noticed that I moved some blogs into or out of the Inner Planet circle. Pharmalyst, for example, was moved in. First, I like numbers and that is what this blog is about. Sorry, there is no second.
JS, the blogger, hopes one day to find a job in the pharmaceutical industry, so he is keeping his identity a secret:
"Only reason I wish to be anonymous is that I hope to graduate sometime next year and at that point I hope to apply for jobs at:Too bad that JS feels he has to give up blogging once he is a hired gun for the industry. Maybe he should have been more coy about that because this lowers him one notch on my credibility scale.
a. Many pharma companies: Specifically looking for jobs in the market research/finance area
b. Any financial type company covering the pharma sector
I am sure that if they knew my status as a blogger, my resume will go straight to the trash can. For a lot of reasons (family/friends etc), I like the pharma industry and I really respect the science & innovation that comes out of this industry..and I am also aware that there are a lot of shady practices in the industry (thanks to all you bloggers). I have been reading many of the pharma blogs for months and hopefully have absorbed some of the jargon/lingo via osmosis. I hope this will give me an advantage re the job search. I also wish to learn more about the industry by chiming in with my own 2 cents and get feedback from the 35 readers I seem to be averaging :-)
If I do get a job with one of these companies, I probably will stop blogging though I will continue reading all the great blogs out there :-)"
Phama Giles ("Fresh Fruit From Rotting Vegetables...") had this to say on that:
"Don’t do it!" was my initial reaction.Giles, another anonymity, goes on to rant and rave about how bad it is to work in the industry. yadda, yadda, yadda
Such is the level of arrogance and hubris within the industry, that I fear Pharmalyst’s putative career may already be over faster than you can say “illegal IP trace”. But perhaps I am being unduly pessimistic. Or paranoid. Or just plain stupid. Hey, let’s not be narrow-minded here. I could so easily be all three.
My view: Go for it kid! And do good things. We need more people like you inside pharmaceutical companies, not less! Who knows, by the time you apply for a job, pharma may have cottoned to blogs and want someone with blogging experience. Hey, it could happen!