Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm Barack Obama and I Approve this Message

Just kidding! I'm just tired of all the phone calls from the Barack campaign here in PA! I thought after I told them I would be voting for Hilary that they'd stop calling, but noooo! That was like putting a sign on may back saying "kick me!" This is just my method of payback!

After collecting 250 votes, my little survey of readers regarding the pharma industry recession is not so little anymore! Exactly two-thirds of respondents (67%) believe the drug industry is in a recession (click on the image above to enlarge and review all responses).

You can take the survey too -- just look for it in the right-hand column (scroll down if necessary).

4th Annual (2008)
Networking Dinner Reception

Got a Plan to Survive This?
If the drug industry is in a recession, we all need a plan to deal with downsizing. As I have said before, part of any survival plan is to get out there and network, network, network. Pharma Marketing Network is pitching in and organizing a networking dinner reception in Princeton, NJ from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM on Wednesday, June 4, 2008. The location is the Princeton Marriott.

For more information, see the "4th Annual (2008) Networking Dinner Reception" Web site.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 7, 2008

If Blogging were an Rx Drug, It would be Pulled from the Market

Or, at least, Senator Grassley would be calling for an investigation right about now.

The New York Times reports on the untimely death of two bloggers in a recent article:

"To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging, and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic. There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to their deaths. But friends and family of the deceased, and fellow information workers, say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work style."

See "In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

'Round the Sphere: Free Speech No Match for Big Pharma

There's a brouhaha going around the Pharma BlogosphereTM about an anti-GSK YouTube video posted by Bob Fiddaman, a UK blogger. Several denizens of the Sphere have taken up the cause as a "free speech" issue:

Glaxo, An Angry Blogger And Free Speech

and this list provided by PharmaGossip (find the links here):

  • Does GSK Love Bad Publicity? (Clin Psych Blog)
  • Video sets GlaxoSmithKline Hounds to Intimidate British Blogger (AHRP Blog)
  • This U.S.A. blog supports Bob Fiddaman (Soulful Sepulcher)
  • Glaxo Smith Kline (Bipolar Blast)
  • It's Groundhog Day for bullying by GlaxoSmithKline over Seroxat (Scientific Misconduct Blog)
  • GSK Lawyers target Seroxat campaigner Bob Fiddaman (Seroxat Secrets)
  • Tony Nunn
  • Intimidation: a standard tactic? (Matt Holford)
  • Glaxo Goes After British Blogger's Video (Furious Seasons)
  • GSK Video - The Aftermath
At issue, of course, is stifling of dissent. The weapon used is trademark infringement and copyright. Fiddaman used the GSK logo in his video and hence was nailed for unauthorized use of a trademark.

It's very intimidating getting a letter like this from a fortune 500 corporation with a legion of lawyers at their beck and call. Bloggers, unlike journalists working for other big corporations with their own legions of lawyers, have very little choice but to comply.

Also, the ,aw makes some exception for the use of a trademark in the press, I believe. By press, I mean people who own real presses like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Fox News. Bloggers don't qualify!

[Just few ways that journalism differ from bloggism and why a blogger, working on his or her own, can never be as resourceful and his speech as protected as a journalist's free speech.]

I have also received a few cease and desist letters, but none from big pharma companies, thank God!

Most recently, I received a letter regarding my use of a photo showing a Jarvik rowing double on the set where a Lipitor commercial was being shot. You recall all the hoopla about Jarvik not being a rower, right? If not, see "Jarvik Can't Prescribe and Can't Row a Boat, But Can He Sell?". I can't be sure, but maybe Pfizer was behind it.

This photo was copyright, so I was told, and I must remove it. So I did. No big deal, the cat was already out of the box and Jarvik was already off the air.

I wonder, however, how many other bloggers out there have received such letters and complied without having any other recourse?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

'Round the Sphere: Mothballs and a High Source

What's the difference between an award-winning journalist blogger and a plain old blogger? The journalist blogger can call the CEO of Sepracor and get a quote, the plain old blogger has to rely on his wits and talk to the non-C suite employees to get his information.

Yesterday, Ed Silverman and I were speakers at an industry conference where we learned something about the Lunesta ad campaign from an inside source.

Ed left the meeting promptly after his panel and I thought he would surely beat me to the punch and blog about what we learned at the conference.

But no! I beat him to the punch and published my story first last night (see "Sepracor Not So Keen to Spend Big on DTC for Its Next Product!") whereas Ed didn't get his story out until this afternoon (see "The Lunesta Moth Won’t Be Mothballed... Yet")! I believe that's called a "scoop" in journalism as in I "scooped Ed!"

How did that happen?

Here's my take on it: Ed wanted that quote from Adrian Adams, Sepracor’s ceo. This is what journalists call "checking your sources," or something like that. But mostly, it's a courtesy call. You never know when access to that ceo can come in handy later for another story!

But Ed had to wait for Adrian's quote. First, Adrian had to get the back story and check with David Lapinski, Associate Director, Commercial Analytics at Sepracor who spilled the beans about the moth at the conference and who was the source of information for the moth story, which I anticipated long before I heard it from him (see "Lunesta Moth Being Mothballed as a Result of Negative Marketing ROI").

Then Adrian had to meet with Sepracor's corporate communications person who would actually compose the words to be quoted.

Finally, Adrian called Ed and gave him the quote.

Meanwhile, here's what I did. I talked to some Sanofi-Aventis marketing people at lunch during the conference and got a few other tidbits ofinformation. Of course, these sources could not be quoted.

When you want to really know what's going on in a company, who should you talk to? The CEO? Or should you bypass him and seek out more reliable sources?