Thursday, May 3, 2007

Pointing Fingers

There's been some interest in the First Ever Pharma Blogosphere Reader Survey from bloggers in the Pharma BlogosphereTM.

Recently, Rich Meyer, author of World of DTC Marketing (rated as one of the TOP 5 "useful" blogs by survey respondents) suggested that people who have not worked in the pharmaceutical industry should not "point fingers."

Rich was disturbed to learn that according to the survey, "BLOGS critical of the pharmaceutical industry are viewed more credible than BLOGS supportive of the industry. ...unless you have worked in the pharma industry there is no way that you can sit on the fence and point fingers at people inside the house." (See "Unless you have been there don't point fingers".)

The blogs that Rich says in "no way" should point fingers at pharma include:

  • Pharmalot
  • PharmaGossip
  • Pharma Marketing Blog
  • BrandweekNRX
Of these, only PharmaGossip meets Rich's criteria for the right to point fingers. PharmaGossip is supposedly written by an industry insider. However, the author is anonymous and there is no way to confirm that he/she is an authentic "insider." But I take the Insider (aka "Jack Friday") at his word.

I think it's incredible for Rich to make this kind of statement. First, any one has a right to point fingers and some of the best finger pointing may be done by "outsiders," such as Democrats in Congress pointing fingers at the Bush administration.

The press (of which we have freedom of here in the USA) is another good example of outsiders pointing in. Pharmalot and BrandweekNRX are two "critical" blogs written by reporters and they are doing a wonderful and critically acclaimed job of pointing fingers.

Of course, the "finger pointer uber alis" is Peter Rost of Question Authority. Rost used to be on the inside but now he is on the outside, so I guess he's OK in Meyer's book.

Meyer plays the "pharma is unique card": "Working in the pharma industry is unique and unless you have spent time on the inside I don't believe that you can understand the environment in which we work."

OK, let's have some sympathy for the environment in which these guys work. But that is no excuse for premeditated abuse of laws, regulations, guidelines, and ethical marketing practices, which are plain for anyone to see, inside or out.

P.S. Meyer relates he has seen a lot of wrong committed inside the tent by fellow pharma people. His blog is a good example of how someone on the inside can take a critical look at this situation and I applaud him for doing it. I also applaud his company, which Meyer doesn't name, for not terminating or muzzling him.

1 comment:

Dr. BK said...

Right on, John! You never did show the stats on the generalizability of the survey to the majority of the readership of these blogs :)

Take care.