Thursday, July 31, 2008

Drug Wonks' Wacko Comments!

Chris TrueLove over at Pharma Blog Review notes that she would make some comments about items written in DrugWonks this week, "but hackers and spambots seem to have taken over the comments pages. Go ahead and click on any item in the blog and you’ll see what I mean."

I did and this is what I found:

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Obviously, the PR professionals in charge of Drug Wonks are asleep at the wheel. Chris, being the Good Samaritan that she is, even e-mailed Robert Goldberg about it.

Welcome Back CNTO411!

Just when I was going to post something about the inactivity over at Centocor's CNTO411 blog, I see that Michael Parks, Centocor's Vice President of Corporate Communications and now CNTO411's only voice, just submitted a post about "GeneRAtions," a new rheumatoid arthritis awareness program and web site.

Parks does not get into what he has been doing since he last made a post over 2 months ago on May 20, 2008. I guess this RA awareness program gobbled up much of his spare time.

Side note: Michael, I missed you at my networking dinner reception! Maybe you'd like to be a guest again on one of my Pharma Marketing Talk show and podcast interviews and talk about GeneRAtions?
The GeneRAtions web site has this visual time line, which is shown here (click to enlarge):

An attempt is made to personalize each generation with an image of a person representing that generation. All I can say is:

Mike, don't let John McCain see this!

While the "peacenik" depicted here was kinda what I was like in the 70's -- my grandmother called me Jesus because of my long hair, beard, sandals and beads -- it is not a politically correct image for John McCain who missed out on all the fun.

I see that a black woman was chosen to represent the new millenium geneRAtion, an image that I'm sure Barack and Michelle Obama would approve of.

Of course, it would be more interesting if it looked like this:

Which is more like how McCain sees the world today!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Like a Bad Penny, Jim Edwards is Back in the Pharma Blogosphere

"Like a bad penny, I have opened a new drug news blog, titled 'Jim Edwards’ NRx.'"

That's how Jim's email announcement, which all you bloggers out there have probably received, starts out.

You can find Jim's new blog at

It seems that Jim is simultaneously accepting freelance money from Brandweek--a company he used to work full-time for blogging--and yet claims his blog is "separate" from Brandweek. I think he means that he writes stories freelance for Brandweek and ALSO writes his blog, which is not financed by Brandweek and is independent of Brandweek.

Jim's blog tagline reads "Drug Business Stories the Media Hasn’t Written Yet." That could be interpreted two ways: (1) Jim beats the Media to the punch with important stories, and (2) Jim write stories that are too trivial for the Media. Both are acceptable niches for us bloggers.

Jim says in his email:

"Mainly, the blog will highlight stories that are under-reported or not reported at all. (As such, it is intended as a story idea sheet for media members.) It is not intended as a high traffic news-aggregator blog [Oh no, you dinnit! Look out Pharmalot and WSJ Health Blog!] – I’m looking to make no more than one post a day."
One interesting story Jim blogged about that probably fits interpretation #2 better than #1 is about PhRMA's new code for drug company interactions with physicians. In a July 18, 2008 post to his blog, Jim points out a loop hole that allows drug companies to still serve meals to physicians and be compliant with the code. He discovered this loophole by reading Lilly's press release about the code (see Jim's post: "Eli Lilly Kindly Points Out Loophole in the New Ban on Wining and Dining Docs").

But the MEDIA (ie, Brandweek) carried this story EIGHT days before and the story was written by the FREELANCE Jim (see "Drug Swag Gets Bagged"). So, technically, the Media Jim beat the blogger Jim to the punch! However, I first heard about it through Jim's blog -- I no longer read Brandweek since Jim and Peter Rost left.

Anyway here's the loophole as reported in Brandweek:
The rules also purport the ban on "token" consulting arrangements, in which doctors sign on as paid "consultants" in exchange for promises to write a certain number of prescriptions as part of a post-marketing evaluation. But the rules also say, "It is appropriate for consultants who provide advisory services to be offered reasonable compensation for those services and reimbursement for reasonable travel, lodging and meal expenses incurred as part of providing those services. Any compensation or reimbursement made in conjunction with a consulting arrangement should be reasonable and based on fair market value." Again, that leaves companies with wide latitude for interpretation.
Be Brutal, Says Jim
Jim wants feedback and says "As always, advice and criticism are welcome and encouraged. Go on, be brutal."

OK. Not that this criticism is brutal but I note the title of Jim's blog is, well, not too, how shall I say it, modest or catchy. I only mention this because Jim himself has criticized the title of other blogs like "Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look," which Jim claims is "badly named." Now, Jim, let's not call the kettle black!

BTW, Jim also has a penchant for personalizing other blogs -- like my blog ("Pharma Marketing Blog") and Peter Rost's blog ("The Pharma Law Blog"). Jim lists these blogs in his blogroll under "John Mack" and "Peter Rost."

Jim, it's an honor for my blog to be listed in your blogroll and thanks for that. However, I am not as famous -- or infamous -- as Peter Rost and I would like links to my blog to include the blog name, Pharma Marketing Blog. Bad name or not, it's the name of my blog.

While you're changing that listing, how about adding Pharma Blogosphere to your blog roll? I am adding yours to mine!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Are Employers Cracking Down on Pharma Blogs Written by Employees?

First I find that PharmaGiles is deceased (see "Wha Happened to PharmaGiles?") and now Pharma Fraud access is "by invitation only" and I haven't been invited!

Of course, I'm a conspiracy nut, so right away I sense that these two developments are NOT isolated and may be part of an effort by employers of these bloggers to reign their employees who speak out against the pharmaceutical industry via blogs.

[I assume that both these bloggers either work for pharmaceutical companies or agencies that make a living from the drug industry. I seem to recall reading that. I could be wrong. I hope also that whoever was writing PharmaGiles is not literally deceased!]
If true, this is much worse than AP going after bloggers about copyright infringement that Fard Johnmar over at Healthcare VOX and other bloggers in the Pharma BlogosphereTM recently railed against (see "The Battle Over Online Content").

Of course, there could be a completely different, reasonable explanation for these events.

What does your pharma "blogger radar" show?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wha Happened to Pharma Giles?

Have you tried linking to Pharma Giles blog at lately?

I get a "Pharma Giles (deceased)" message.

Anybody know what's going on?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New (to me) Blog: Patient Centric Healthcare

I am always searching the Pharma Blogosphere for comments and opinions I can quote in the articles I write for Pharma Marketing News. Sometimes, bloggers send me their comments directly. That's how I learned about The Patient Centric Healthcare Blog written by George Van Antwerp. He sent me his comments on why many pharmaceutical marketers ignore ROI and rely upon anecdotal evidence:

  1. They haven't been forced to;
  2. They don't clearly understand the success metrics and what is causality versus correlation; and
  3. They data is hard to get to using traditional mediums such as letters.
That being said. I have never had the luxury of launching programs without a way of tracking and demonstrating ROI. I haven't worked for pharma, but I have worked in the PBM and now HealthComm industry. It is possible (and difficult).
You can read more about Pharma Marketing ROI in the next issue of Pharma Marketing News. For a preview of that issue, click here.

Meanwhile, here's how George describes his blog:
This blog (formerly The Patient Advocate) contains my thoughts about healthcare. It is generally focused on marketing related issues from a patient perspective. After working in healthcare, my opinion is that most companies today think of patients as claims. I advocate that healthcare needs to be more like consumer products and think differently about how they interact...both for their own personal benefits and for the patients.
George may not have pharmaceutical companies and products top of mind when he says "healthcare needs to be more like consumer products." Who knows what the world would be like if that was how pharma marketers thought of their products? Come to think of it, that IS how they think! Still, it could be worse. See, for example, "Marketing Drugs Like Packaged Goods at the Super Bowl."

Let's give a hardy welcome to Patient Centric Healthcare, the newest member of the Pharma Blogosphere family!