Friday, May 11, 2007

'Round the Sphere With Christiane Truelove

PharmaLive's e-newsletter "Pharma Blogs: Week in Review" edited by Christiane Truelove offers a roundup of what bloggers in the Pharma BlogosphereTM are writing about recently. To read it, you need to subscribe here.

Topics covered this week include:

  • The two Peters (Pitts and Rost) on the issue of drug re-importation.
Pitts is the anti-Peter, whereas Rost if the pro-Peter, viz-a-viz allowing re-importation. You may recall that this was the issue that first brought Rost to worldwide attention via his 60 minutes interview. Back then Peter did not have a blog and would send out email missives. "Get a Blog already," I said (see "Rost to Roost in Blogosphere"). The rest, as they say, is history. Pitts, on the other hand, used to work for the FDA. Funny how many former FDAers now lobby, do PR, or otherwise consult for the drug industry.
  • Jim Edwards (Brandweek) on the failed DTC moratorium provision
Truelove says "In response to comments made by Democratic Iowa Senator Tom Harkin in the Star-Ledger, Mr. Edwards says, 'We've had 10 years of DTC. Either it's fine the way it is or it needs to be reined in. If it needed reining in, then this was the chance to do it. And you balked. No one believes that Congress will ever again take serious action to change DTC rules.'" (see "Senate to Big Pharma on DTC: 'Never Mind!'")

Of course, some people, like Robert Corn-Revere, think Congress has the right to limit DTC only by eliminating the first amendment (see this screed from the Media Institute).
  • Derek Lowe (In the Pipeline) on more power to the FDA to monitor drug safety
"We know just as much about toxicology as we did yesterday -- a lot, from one perspective, but not nearly enough, from another," Dr. Lowe says.

No legislation will correct the FDA's blind eye, which was turned towards years and years of Purdue's perfidy re: off-label promotion of OxyContin. According to an article in the New York Times, "when the painkiller was first approved, F.D.A. officials allowed Purdue Pharma to state that the time-release of a narcotic like OxyContin 'is believed to reduce' its potential to be abused." Where was the FDA when Purdue Pharma went further? They can have all the power in the world, but it doesn't mean they will use it. After all, there are post-FDA career decisions to consider.

Frosting occurs over pink cupcakes
Of course, Truelove mentions the Pink Cupcake Caper and the "kitty fight" that briefly pitted her against Black Kitty. I'm not going to get into that here, but Truelove handles the whole thing very professionally and distills from it the lesson I promulgated: pharmaceutical sales reps need to have some guidance about what is and what is not appropriate food to be handing out to patients in waiting rooms (see my Guidelines for Gifts to Patients).

Truelove then relates her own personal story about an inappropriate gift from a pharma rep that she still cherishes -- a chocolate bar wrapped in a drug logo-emblazoned wrapper (you'll have to read the newsletter to find out what drug and what pharma company -- hint: it ends with "zeneca"). It must be way moldy by now! Yewwww!

There's more, but I've got to get on with making a living. I suppose you should too!

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