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Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Some of you may have noticed recently that we’ve been on well… a bit of a break… and I thought it high time to let you know what’s up with CNTO411, I mean Pharma BlogoSphere.
The long and the short of it is that I don't have the time to write long posts to this blog about other pharma-related blogs and bloggers.
I've decided that Twitter is Better!
It only requires 140 characters! It helps me condense my thoughts and comments into "blog bites" instead of blog posts.
So follow me on Twitter (@pharmaguy).
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009
"Following Pharmalot's closure and Scott Hensley's departure from the WSJ Health Blog, Insider has decided to throw in the towel." -- Jack Friday at PharmaGossip
"I have to focus on making a living and writing a blog just isn't enough," said Steve Woodruff after he shut down his Impactiviti blog.
The list goes on.
Only two bloggers remain:
- John Mack - Pharma Marketing Blog
- Peter Pitts - Drug Wonks Blog
"I'm quite well off and enjoy a great government-run health plan," said Peter Pitts. "I also get paid to blog by the pharmaceutical industry."
Although the bloggers who shut down cited monetary problems, an un-named informant from PhRMA told this reporter that PhRMA, the US drug industry trade group, invited at least a dozen pharma bloggers to a symposium at a resort location -- all expenses paid. At press time, this was unconfirmed and PhRMA refused to comment when we did not call them.
Could an all-expense paid educational retreat be the reason why all these bloggers called it quits?
"All PhRMA offered me," said John Mack, "was a bus tour of America in its orange bus. I wasn't about to be holed up in a smelly bus with Montel Williams for days and days! Maybe if they invited me on that retreat I would have reconsidered."
Posted by PharmaGuy at 6:31 AM
Monday, March 23, 2009
I noticed that lately the Wall Street Journal Health Blog was a bit light on number of posts being made. At first I thought that not having Ed Silverman and Pharmalot to compete against, the folks at WSJ Health Blog were just being lazy. But now I learn that Scott Hensley is leaving. Here's his farewell post:
A little more than two years ago, I first clicked the publish button on this blog, nervously putting our debut post on the Web. Now, more than 3,900 posts later, I’ve had the pleasure of hitting that button for the last time.You can still follow Scott via Twitter: http://twitter.com/scotthensley
I’m leaving The Wall Street Journal and the blog today. In case you couldn’t tell, it’s been an absolute ball.
The blog launched with high hopes and unknown prospects in March 2007. Happily, from the start the response to our online experiment was extraordinary.
For me, a print reporter turned founding editor of the blog, the thousands of thoughtful reader comments and the kindness of other bloggers have been especially gratifying.
Now I join the ranks of readers of the blog, which I’m confident will carry on just fine without me. If you’d like to stay in touch, the best bet is Twitter, my other fascination.
But what's going to happen to WSJ Health Blog? Scott says the WSJ Blog will do just fine without him. Jacob Goldstein, Scott's partner, is still posting to the blog, but like other blogs that have lost its "founding" pioneer -- notably Pharmalot and CNTO411 -- WSJ Health Blog may be headed toward obscurity. One hint: Scott refers to the blog as an "experiment," which doesn't sound like a business plan destined to survive.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Several blogs in the Pharma Blogosphere are now going dark (see "CNTO411: We'll Meet Again, Don't Know Where, Don't Know When"), which is why I am writing this post.
Around this time a few months ago, John Mack introduced the blog Pharma Blogosphere to offer perspective about blogging about the pharmaceutical industry. Though we were initially pretty good at posting content, some of you may have noticed recently that we’ve been on well.. a bit of a break.. and I thought it high time to let you know what’s up with Pharma Blogosphere.
You see, during the past few months, there have been some structural changes to our organization, which have resulted in the consolidation of John Mack and Pharma Marketing News and we are now John Mack Pharma Marketing News. This is an exciting time for us as the spirit and culture of our new organization take shape. That said, we feel it is extremely important that our focus remain on fully integrating our businesses so that we can continue our focus of helping bloggers blog about the pharma industry. What’s more, we have several important milestones that we are preparing for this year related to our core areas of focus pharma marketing, pharma marketing, and pharma marketing.
With all of that activity, we haven’t been very good at posting to Pharma Blogosphere — and I’m afraid this hiatus will continue for the foreseeable future.
In looking back over the past year, admittedly, there were times when we may have missed the mark with Pharma Blogosphere, which some readers promptly brought to our attention. Yet, through this endeavor, we tried to stay true to the intent of blogging through diverse posts including conversations with key bloggers, company announcements, new programs and trends within the industry. There have surely been some challenges along the way, but we have collected some great learnings and, hopefully, visitors have been enriched in some way as well.
In our inaugural post I COULD have said that "we like to think of ourselves as pioneers." We still do as pioneering new blog posts is engrained in the fabric of our culture. And we will continue to provide bloggers with innovative information, the latest information, support services and quality information.
We're taking a break but not exiting indefinitely, so we hope to have the opportunity to chat with you again the near future.
Friday, January 16, 2009
This note comes in from pharmalot refugees 'Justice in Michigan' and 'Jaynesday'
In fondest tribute to Ed Silverman and his extraordinary Pharmalot site, and with appreciation to the Newark Star Ledger for sponsoring Pharmalot, a few of us Pharmalot "refugees" have founded the site, "Pharmalittle".Here's a scoop with cone:
This is an all-volunteer, unfunded effort. Needless to say, it ain't no Pharmalot. Our hope is simply to keep a few of the conversations going about issues of shared concern.
Given our limits in time and person-power, we will post very selected news, have short bloggette discussion starters, and perhaps a surprising interview or two every now and then. Issues of particular focus are likely to be FDA (including preemption), pharma and politics, and perennial issues like DTCA, COIs, and the like. Occasionally, we may post a article that is an 'oldy but goody' - just for the sake of discussion. As on Pharmalot, our core goal is to learn from each other.
On the other hand, should we get a scoop, we won't hesitate to pass it on. Just send a us a cone.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Every aspiring king, prince, or FDA Commissioner should have a family "shield" (aka "coat of arms") to use on his letterhead and Peter Rost, who aspires to be the new FDA commish, says someone sent him just the shield he's been "looking for" (that's it on the left; see the original here).
BTW, back in January, 2008, when I was writing about Rost speaking before the Swedish parliament, I came up with my own version of the "Rost Family Shield," which is depicted on the right.
Which ever shield fits, all Rost now needs is to prepend "von" to his name and the "von Rost" dynasty will be set to begin -- as soon as he's nominated for commish, that is.
But "von Rost" may be too reminiscent of another "von" we all are happy to be rid of come January 20, 2009.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I was sorry to hear that Ed Silverman "took the money and ran" and will no longer be writing for Pharmalot, which I assume will fold without him. I will miss Ed's presence in the Pharma Blogosphere, although I am sure he will continue to contribute somehow.
"This is my long goodbye," said Ed in his final post.
"For two glorious years, I have had the privilege and good fortune to run this site. Now, though, the time has come to walk away. This was a difficult decision, but one that is rooted in the turmoil engulfing the newspaper business. Let me explain.
"Three years ago, I suggested a site that could somehow become a go-to destination for news and discussion concerning the pharmaceutical industry. As someone who had covered pharma for a decade, but was itching to do something different, a web site represented not only a next step in gathering and disseminating information, but also an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and move on to another stage in my career.
"Happily, the notion was backed by Jim Willse, the editor of The Star-Ledger of New Jersey, which owns Pharmalot and is the flagship in the Newhouse chain of newspapers. After the usual planning and tinkering, Pharmalot launched exactly two years ago. And since then, the site has become popular and well-known – as of last month, we notched about 11,000 unique daily visitors and some 330,000 monthly pageviews on a 30-day rolling basis. There were accolades from The Financial Times and the Association of Health Care Journalists. I was regularly asked to speak at dinners and conferences.
"Meanwhile, as you know, the newspaper business has been declining rapidly and, last summer, the Ledger offered generous buyouts, sufficiently generous that I was tempted to consider the package. And for various personal reasons, that is what I have chosen to do. Yes, there were discussions to continue with Pharmalot – the Ledger, particularly Willse, recognizes the potential for the site and I thoroughly enjoy the work. The long hours and intense routine may be grueling, but Pharmalot has been an extremely challenging and satisfying preoccupation. In the end, though, we were unable to find a path forward.
"And so, I am now moving on."
Thursday, December 4, 2008
As I reported on Pharma Marketing Blog, Peter Rost -- who has made a reputation as whistle blower, muckraker, and Pfizer nemesis -- holds the lead in my "Who Should Obama Nominate for FDA Commissioner?" survey (see "Meet the Person Likely to be the Next FDA Commissioner").
Today, I received a note from Rost that reproduced email he received from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson that promised they would deliver a letter to the appropriate person on the Obama transition team recommending Rost be nominated as FDA Commissioner! See "U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson support Dr. Rost for FDA Commissioner" on Rost's blog site. [That's Sen. Brown in the photo on the left.]
Cary Byrd over at eDrugSearch Blog also endorses Rost for FDA Commissioner and has published an interview with Rost here: "Q&A with Dr. Peter Rost, eDrugSearch.com’s choice for FDA commissioner".
If Rost does become FDA Commissioner, he owes me big time!
I started the "Rost for FDA Commissioner" campaign when I reported that "FDA Intern Supports Peter Rost for New FDA Commish!" back in early November (read the history here).
If Rost does become FDA Commissioner, I am dead to the pharma industry!
Just for the record, I personally endorse Susan Wood (see "Susan Wood: "The One to Take the Lead" of the FDA"). I have corresponded with Ms. Wood and asked her to respond to the following questions:
- Should the FDA be given authority to control tobacco and nicotine as a drug?
- Should the FDA have more resources and use them to bolster inspections of imported food and drug products and allow re-importation of cheaper Rx drugs?
- Should the FDA be given authority to review and approve generic versions of biologic drugs?
- Should the FDA preemption of consumer lawsuits against drug companies be eliminated?
- (my favorite) Should the FDA issue specific guidance on the use of the Internet for the promotion of Rx drugs?
NOTE: Among respondents to my survey who say they are very or somewhat supportive of the pharmaceutical industry, Rost comes in 5th behind Nissen, Wood, Woodcock, and Califf.
Take the survey here and vote for your choice.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Yesterday, Ed Silverman -- the prolific Pharmalot blogger -- wrote that he was taking the afternoon off for a "speaking" engagement at a major pharmaceutical company:
"Pardon the interruption this afternoon," Ed wrote, "but believe it or not, we have again been asked to talk about what we do - you know, covering pharma and this new media world in which we live. Who asked us this time? Well, if you must know, it is….a big drugmaker. Which one? Guess correctly, and we will send you a Pharmalot t-shirt. Seriously. We have a trunk full. However, we should point out that, no, we are not paid for this activity, although we will accept a cup of stimulation. Wish us luck and see you shortly..."Starting with me, about 38 of Ed's loyal fans suggested the name of the drug company.
Last night, Ed posted this comment in response:
"Since it is now nearly midnight back here in the nation’s medicine chest, I thought it might be a good time to say the guessing game is over. The lucky winners will be contacted for mailing addresses and, yes, I will actually send honest-to-goodness Pharmalot t-shirts, which sport the spiffy Pharmalot logo. Perfect for, well, just about anything. No charge involved. Meanwhile, I want to thank those of you who took the time to guess. I never expected so many responses."If the guessing game is over, Ed, why not tell us where you were? Why all this secrecy? It's worse than trying to guess who Obama will pick next!
Has Ed been offered a corporate mouthpiece job at one of the pharma companies commenters mentioned, where he’ll take over or start up the blogging function?
Inquiring minds want to know!
Ed finally responded:
Sorry for the secrecy. I was just trying to have a little fun by making this into a guessing game.
The correct answer was…Pfizer. And I was asked to speak to their global communications and policy folks, who also heard from the gentleman who runs Sermo.
I’ve spoken a number of times - the NY/NJ chapter of the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society; the Association of Health Care Journalists NY chapter; Sanofi-Aventis policy and communications people; the NJ Chapter of the American Association of Indian Pharmaceutical Scientists; the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council; a DTC Perspectives conference, and the recent Pharma Compliance Congress in Washington DC.
Well, I was right on one count: Ed was talking to corporate communication types. It's still possible that Pfizer will offer him a job working for the group he spoke to. Just trying to have a little fun by making this a guessing game!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Today I noticed that Peter Rost -- former Pfizer Marketing VP, turned drug industry whistle blower, author, and blogger -- changed the name of his blog (again!) to PETER ROST FOR FDA COMMISSIONER.
It all started when I reported on Pharma marketing Blog that FDA Intern -- Strange visitor from an Ivy League school who came to FDA with powers and ability far beyond those of Janet Woodcock or even FDA commish Andy von Eschenbach! -- announced her endorsement of Peter Rost as president-elect Obama's nominee choice for the new FDA Commissioner (see "FDA Intern Supports Peter Rost for New FDA Commish!").
Peter himself had re-published on his blog a 2004 press release in which Rahm Emanuel -- Obama's new Chief of Staff -- expressed a glowing opinion of Rost (see "Emanuel Statement: Importation Press Conference with Pfizer Vice President Dr. Peter Rost").
Shortly afterward, I decided to start my "Who Should Obama Nominate for FDA Commissioner?" survey (see "Vote for New FDA Commissioner: Let Obama Know"). I picked names of 10 contenders from opinions expressed by various bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere to include in the survey. Out of respect for FDA Intern, I included Peter Rost in that list. Respondents can also write-in their own choices.
I asked several bloggers to include notices about my survey on their blogs and a few, including Peter, did so.
What surprised me -- and I think Peter as well -- was that Peter became the leading contender very early on and still leads the pack with nearly 100 people voting to date (see "FDA Critics Lead the Pack of Contenders for New FDA Commissioner According to Poll!"). This despite the fact that I endorsed Susan Wood on Pharma Marketing Blog (see "Susan Wood: 'The One to Take the Lead' of the FDA").
At first, Rost did not take himself seriously as a contender for FDA Commissioner. But he also saw the results of mt survey and posted them to his site and the story was picked up by a German newspaper that obviously took all this seriously (see "Germany discusses possibility for Dr. Rost to become new FDA Commissioner").
I also pointed out to Rost that the Obama transition team had a Web site where people could submit their resumes for government jobs in the Obama administration. Peter thanked me for the heads-up and quickly applied.
I also notified the Obama transition team about my survey and suggested they keep up with the results and comments from respondents when I publish them in an upcoming issue of Pharma Marketing News.
Here are the top contenders to date for FDA Commissioner nominee, according to my survey respondents:
- Peter Rost - 24.5%
- Steven Nissen -- 14.9%
- Janet Woodcock -- 12.8%
- Susan Wood -- 10.6%
- Steven Nissen -- 17.3%
- Peter Rost -- 16.0 %
- Janet Woodcock -- 12.0%
- Susan Wood -- 12.0%
What do you think? Is Rost your choice for FDA Commissioner? Vote now!