Showing posts with label Drug Wonks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drug Wonks. Show all posts

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:

burlington baby depot promo code gray plain tiny myspace layouts medium layered bob mappa politica piemonte abante xerex xaviera diablo ii lod cheats www littelest pet shop com pine brothers cherry cough drops aaa livedoor jp futaba nasha aziz telanjang nude angel locsin maura rivera desnuda datuk azhar mansur free prewritten love letters torrent j ax buffie da body uncut kumpulan simpanan wang pekerja download dota maps dx wallpaper wwe 1st czech international celebrity feet
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.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Big Pharma, "Real" People, Wonkers?

Ed Silverman over at Pharmalot is trying to draw out the anonymous creators of a Website called BigPharmaRealPeople and challenged the principal--one Scott McTavish (aka John Galt)--to a blogging duel:

"One other thing, Scott. Since you chose not to answer any of our messages directly, we are still curious to know more about your background and those of your ’staff.’ We would also like to know what, if any, sponsorship or backing you may have. If you really do enjoy an open debate about all the facts, more disclosure would be helpful - unless your site is merely an example of astroturfing dressed up as a social networking experiment." (See "Big Pharma, Real People, Bitter Web Site").

I can't imagine that this site gets any pharma sponsorship money. If it did, it could afford to be sure that its web site was compatible with every browser out there, especially FireFox. It's not.

When I access the site using FireFox 5.0 for Windows, it's a mess!

I first heard of BigPharmaRealPeople from the Pharma Fraud blog (see "Big Pharma: Real (Phony) People"), which believed it was a spoof site. Frankly, I don't think there's much about it to get worked up about.

However, I find it amusing that perhaps the site took an idea I had and ran with it. Namely, the idea that the stories of "real" people working at pharmaceutical companies are not getting out. I suggested, for example, that the J&J people over at JNJ BTW should let their rank and file people tell their stories on that blog (see, for example, "Advice to All Pharma PR Bloggers Out There").

Could it be that a rogue person within J&J read my blog and decided to do what I suggested? Could be (I think Pharma Fraud believes it could be). Except BigPharmaRealPeople takes it a step further and potty mouths critics of the pharmaceutical industry, choosing to focus on "negative attack ads" rather than positive personal stories, which makes it sound more like someone from Cafe Pharma is behind this.

BigPharmaRealPeople is NOTHING like the open and frank style of JNJ BTW, but is very SIMILAR to attack dog style of Drug Wonks, who are also big Ayn Rand fans. It wouldn't surprise me, therefore, it those people were behind BigPharmaRealPeople!

Friday, June 15, 2007

DrugWanks Pull Post

Soon after I posted my diatribe against DrugWonks and their cowardly bullying tactics, Insider weighed in with the image at the left and declared that he will refer to them as "DrugWanks" from now on!

For us non-Brits, here's the Wikipedia 411 on "wanker":

Wanker is a pejorative term of British origin, common in Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, and gaining usage in Canada and the United States. It initially referred to "one who masturbates" but has since become a general insult. It is synonymous with tosser, toss-pot and tossing it off (commonly meaning wasting time - usually when at work). In parts of the UK the word 'tosser' and it's other forms have become so widespread that it isn't generally regarded as a swear word and is socially acceptable in general conversation.

I think I'll stick with the pejorative, please.

Insider also pointed out the poor spelling ability of these wankers:

By the way guys..... if you are going to wank over Big Pharma's offerings, try and get the spelling right.

It's Acomplia........ with one "c"!
If only that were the worst case!

Maybe it was the bad spelling, or maybe someone higher up in the PR food chain gave Wanker Goldberg a call, I don't know. What I do know is that you will no longer find the offending "wanker rant" entitled "What an Overweight Director Who Didn't Give His Own Employees Health Insurance Didn't Tell Us About US Health Care" on the DrugWanks site unless you specifically know what URL to paste into your browser (click here) and that might not be working much longer! If you go to the main page directly, you won't find the post!

Goldberg's post not only criticised Michael Moore, who is probably laughing all the way to the bank over it, but Goldberg -- coward that he is -- bad-mouthed Jim Edwards (see my post about that here).

So, from now on, I will follow Insider's lead and refer to these PR Wonks as DrugWanks and they shall be banned forever to the Outer Sphere of the Pharma Blogosphere!

BTW, this is the DrugWanks post in its entirety, just case the link above no longer works (click on the image to enlarge it and read):

Wonks LOL YouTube Effort!

Turns out that Drug Wonks are not even very good PR Wonks.

Here's their latest YouTube video effort to discredit Michael Moore. They ask people on the street (in a park, actually) "Would you trust your healthcare to Michael Moore?"

Well, no! Duh!

What's funny about this is, at one point, they ask the question of some guy sitting in a tree! Like that's the kind of person whose opinion I should listen to!

Wonks Bitch Slap Jim Edwards: Are We Going to Let Them Get Away with It?

Yesterday I mentioned Jim Edwards' post regarding Drug Wonks Demonization of Michael Moore. Jim used his personal experience to get an MRI as support for his thesis that the Wonks' cause is lost.

Now chief bully wonker Robert Goldberg is trying to sling mud at Jim and the rest of bloggers who share his view with insults like this:

"For the record, drugwonks aims to be the truth dectector [sic; LOL] for Moore's propaganda film Sicko. That is the least we can do for thos (sic) Kool-Aid drinking bloggers who blindly follow a guy who denied health care coverage to his employees when he was producer of TV nation."

Let's see. TV Nation was produced when? Is this relevant now? Should we listen to anyone who cannot even use a spell checker!

"Now some have nothing better to do than price MRIs."

"Oh, and the MRI? Use it to a conduct a more careful analysis of your own sloppy arguments in defense of hypocritical and overweight directors."

Goldberg is a coward! He won't dare say that to Jim's face by naming him in his blog! or at least linking to Jim's post.

No, Drug Wonks never links out to the "enemy" Kool-Aid drinking bloggers!

Cowards! PR Wonks!

I note that all the invective aimed at Moore and his movie is based on what the Wonks have seen in movie trailers and on Oprah. They don't have the nerve to see the film they are criticizing and must constantly stoop to calling people names!

Cowards! PR Wankers!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

'Round the Sphere: Dirty Tightie Whities and Wailing on Wonks!

Pretty soon I'm off to my son's high school graduation and there's no time to start anything productive, so I'll just make this quick post about what has caught my attention this week 'round the old Pharma Blogosphere.

First those Tightie Whities
Aside from being recognized as one of The 50 Best Business Blogs by The Times of London, Pharmalot is also recognized -- at least by me -- for sporting a great new look and crisp little graphics. I especially like the dirty tightie whities Ed Silverman used to illustrate a recent post about the problems faced by Acomplia (aka Zimulti).

Ed suggests that we invest in underwear makers. I would point out, however, that most underwear makers are in China or India and run sweatshops. Based on a recent report --- see "Drugmakers Need New Business Model" -- many pharmaceutical companies may need to offshore their business as well if they are to remain viable. "Companies must expand their pipelines by looking to countries such as India and China, where research is burgeoning, and the industry must redesign the drug development process," the report said.

Wailing on Wonks
Meanwhile, the PR Wonks at Drug Wonks are being wailed on from the left and from the right and all over the place! The funny thing is, I pointed out the Wonks conflicts of interest way back in February (see "Drug Wonks are PR Wonks"), but that tree falling in the forest made no sound.

Now you can't swing a Kitty without hitting a post dissing Pitts and or Goldberg, the 2 most prolific drug Wonks. I think CL Psych started it with the post "Welcome to the PR Machine." Since then, others have taken up the clarion call.

Most recently, Jim Edwards over at BrandweekNRX Wailed on Wonks for their attacks on Moore (see "Why DrugWonks' Campaign to Demonize Michael Moore Will Fail"). But there's much more to Jim's post than anti-Drug Wonkisms. He actually is making a point about our health insurance industry that Moore never even touched on! Read it and weep.

Peter Rost over at Question Authority went so far as to ask "Is Big Pharma Secretly Taking Over the Blog World?" It may be less of a conspiracy theory than it sounds. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal profiled a company that can improve your reputation on the Web. One method -- drown out the bad stuff with counter-content that says you're a saint! By the looks of pharmagather, that seems to be the methodology employed by Drug Wonks, which makes one small post after another all day long. Of course, Pharmalot does the same thing, so I guess one balances the other!

Friday, May 18, 2007

'Round the Sphere with Christiane Truelove: Tricky Wonkers or Wonky Tricks?

If you are not already a subscriber to PharmaLive's e-newsletter "Pharma Blogs: Week in Review" edited by Christiane Truelove, do it now! (subscribe here) It's a nice Friday morning treat, especially when she highlights comments form some of my favorite bloggers in the Pharma BlogosphereTM, although this week "not so much" viz-a-viz my favorites.

Everyone, it seems has an opinon of Michael Moore's new documentary SiCKO, but no-one has seen it! I'm on record with my "Mr. Moore, Don't Ignore" campaign to get a special screening for us pharma bloggers.

Wonky Tricks
Christiane quotes Drug Wonks' Peter ("industry pit bull") Pitts declaring that Moore's film is not doing well in test-market trials. "Can anyone take a film about health care from a clinically obese person seriously?" Mr. Pitts asks.

How does Peter know about SiCKO test market trials? Simple. All he has to do is qualify his statement with "according to inside sources," which he never cites (don't take my word for it; see "Sicko flops in test market trials").

Of course, if you do a Google search on "SiCKO test market", you will find Peter's post plus pundits who pander to Peter by citing his post. A complete circle jerk and PR wonky trick!

According to my inside source -- ie, my gut -- Peter Pitts is full of sh*t!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

'Round the Sphere: Wonky Kryptonite, Ethics, and Videotape

You know, of course, it is impossible to review al the important stuff going on in the expanding Pharma BlogosphereTM. The best I can do is offer my own eclectic glimpse into trends, fun stuff, and major rants.

Thanks to Steve Woodruff of impactiviti, therefore, for putting together PharmaCentral (see "Flaky" PharmaCentral Launched!), a portal "designed to give you fingertip access to a number of targeted blogs, so that you can more easily and quickly find updated commentary on a variety of topics." Basically, Steve has organized public feeds from blogs into categories based on the focus of the blog. A number of "flakes" or windows into the feed content of blogs appear on a single page.

My suggestion: Use Pharma Blogosphere and PharmaCentral in concert -- the former gives you insight and commentary plus reviews of the blogs in the space (not to mention ratings by readers -- more on that later), the latter is an unedited glimpse into recent posts from blogs.

Steve's blog (impactiviti) is about pharma sales training, in case you are interested.

ASIDE TO STEVE: What ever happened to the discussion of sales training going too far (see Steve's post "How Far is Too Far?"). This question was prompted by the Zubillaga Affair (or Zube Affair, or ZubeGate; your choice) and sales training PPT, which seems to prompt sales reps to make off-label head to head comparisons of 2 drugs on sales calls. Steve asks: "The defense was made that this was a 'for information only' training piece, and the information was not to be used for detailing. Well, maybe. Here’s the question I’d like to have your comments on - where does a company draw the line between giving out information like this to sales reps, even if there is a “not for detailing” disclaimer? Where does this stand with the compliance/ethical practices of your company? How far is too far?"

Can we expect any answers to these questions any time soon? Inquiring minds want to know.
Drug Wonks Have Sense of Humor -- Who Knew?
Finally, Drug Wonks (aka "PR Wonks," Whoops! Did I just violate Rulemaker Giles' Rule #4?) post a light, humorous piece! Here it is in its entirety:
Real Kryptonite Found: FDA Puts Black Box Warning on Related Products

The FDA announced today that all supplements and products derived from kryptonite would have a black box warning. Dr. David Graham had pressured the agency after noting that the presence of kryptonite would pose a serious and life threatening danger to Superman, Supergirl and other survivors of the planet Krypton. Graham had been pushing Congress to expand it's drug safety program to move beyond "merely planetary surveillance activities" and into galactic exploration of pharmacovigilance matters. The FDA said in a press release " this pilot project is part of our effort to develop a global and indeed galactic risk management program." The agency had planned to establish this program in partnership with Luthor Industries and the Justice League of America but was attacked by members of Congress for being too "cozy" with special interests.
I guess everyone has heard of the discovery of Kryptonite on planet Earth reported recently in the press? If not, this tongue-in-cheek piece may cause you to scratch your head.

More Ethics Anyone?
There's a new kid on the block -- or, should I say, new orb in the Outer Sphere: Hooked blog, which was launched back in February "accompany the recent publication of [the author's, Harold Brody] book, Hooked: Ethics, the Medical Profession, and the Pharmaceutical Industry. Hat tip to Jack Friday at PharmaGossip, who continues to discover new planets!

I wonder what Paul Marinelli, the author of the blog Pharma Ethics, My Foot! thinks of this new blog? Sounds like they should duke it out. BTW, where are you Paul? We haven't seen a new post to your blog since...February! Hmmmm...coincidence! Could Harold Brody and Paul Marinelli be alter egos of the same person! C'mon Paul! Write something scathing please (Rule #4 be damned!).

I'm a little conflicted about adding Hooked to the list of Pharma Blogosphere members. After all, Hooked is obviously geared to promote a single product: the author's book, which BTW I will definitely BUY and READ!

Brody, however, is engaged in an interesting project whereby a blog is designed to update the contents of a book and the author offers interaction with his readers:
"My major goal with this blog is to allow updates on the book's contents. The topic--the relationship between medicine and the pharmaceutical industry--is hot right now, and practically every day, new developments occur and new information is published. I wanted to have a platform to inform interested readers of those developments that seem to me especially pertinent or important, and that might modify some statement or fact given in the book."
But why the book? Why not just the blog? Will the blog out live the book, which may never make it it to a second printing? Too many questions for me to answer this early in the AM.

The AZ Videotape
Peter Rost is at AZ again! The latest brouhaha is the "Secret AstraZeneca Audio Tapes" (see here and here and practically everywhere in the Pharma Blogosphere; hope I implemented Rule #1 adequately).

So far, we've seen the lies and the videotape. Where's the sex Peter?

OK, so it's an AUDIOTAPE, not a Videotape! Sue me! The real question is where's the sex?

Frankly, I haven't been keeping up with all these revelations and have not listened to any of the tracks that Peter has uploaded. I notice, however, that he uses a third-pary storage site called Box where he deposits all his media file (see, for example, Track 7). You get 1 GB of storage free! If Peter keeps up this pace of revelations, he will soon have to upgrade!

Hey, Judge Mack has just had a tattoo done and wants to show you! Click here to see it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

'Round the Sphere: Capitalizing on VA Tech Tragedy, Rost Roasts Mack, the PharmaBlog Band

Let me start with the hottest topic making the rounds of the Pharma BlogosphereTM (and the world in general): the VA Tech Tragedy. We all want to show our support for the students of VA Tech, their families, the victims, and especially the families of the victims. Bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere are no exception and several of us expressed our thoughts in one way or another.

Fard Johnmar at HealthcareVOX observed a daylong moment of silence on April 18; Pharma Marketing Blog (my blog) followed suit on April 19.

Pharma Giles touched upon the anti-depressant drug link issue ("No Sense at all.."), but confessed "I don't feel like trying to be funny for a while. My heart goes out to the families of those who died at Blacksburg on the morning of the 16th."

But Drug Wonks -- opportunists that they are -- immediately saw the chance to stick it to the anti-anti-depressant folks in their post "The Sorrow and the Pity." Is it OK because they prefaced their comments with "Virginia Tech sorrow and media SSRI hysteria notwithstanding, some important new science ..."? I don't think so!

Pharm Aid got its ass in a wringer when it posted "Anti-Science Propaganda" which I guess could be characterized as a screed in line with the Drug Wonk sentiment, but going a step further by characterizing the anti-anti-depressant crowd as "anti-science crowd." Pharm Aid must have gotten a lot of flack in comments because it had to announce that it would henceforth moderate comments. Good idea!

The Howard Stern of the Pharma Blogosphere!?
Which brings me to the roast that Rost wrought upon me, in which he accused me of "spinning" the results of the Pharma Blogosphere Survey, compared me to shock jock Howard Stern (I guess he doesn' have Don Imus to kick around any more), and berated me for sullying the good name of Agnes Shanley, author of On Pharma blog. You can find his comments here.

"To be, or not to be,--that is the question:--whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?"
Oh, what the hell! I'll choose the arms! Here's my response to Peter, which I would like to make public here:
Peter, Peter, Peter! You don't need no stinkin' survey to be popular and help you promote yourself! You're doing a great job all by yourself.

BTW, regarding the Pharma Blogosphere Survey, all the analysis was done by a third party expert in data analysis. Also, you and all the other bloggers in the survey, will receive the raw data soon and can make your own hay out of it!

I just want a bit of exclusivity considering how much work I put into this -- including giving away my products (reprints and special supplements to my Pharma Marketing News newsletter) to participants as a thank you.

Is it too much to ask that I get my chance to bask in the sun? After all, my blog didn't win top prize and I haven't dissed the winner [I should correct that: the TOP five blogs, eg, In the Pipeline] as you have!

Regarding the Cafe Pharma quotes let me say this: I have no recollection of that!

Just kidding. Really, you know it was all done tongue-in-cheek, don't you? Perhaps I took it a step too far, but putting me in the same league as Howard Stern and Imus is really unfair, you lilly-white ho!

What you may not know is that I have been in contact with Agnes Shanley who wrote in an unsolicited e-mail: "Thanks...for the link and writeup. Have been chuckling about it all morning, and hope it generates some discussion. Your points were all good/true, too." [I don't think she meant that the comments attributed to "anonymous" were good and true. Everyone, I hope, realizes that those comments were taken from unrelated Cafe Pharma posts and were meant to illustrate how "uncivil" some people can be online. Sorry, if there was any confusion about that. See also Agnes' post: “Tough Love” from John Mack?] I have since helped Agnes by noting that her comments were not working and that's why her site is not getting comments from readers! No one else took the time or effort to give her a heads up!

So, I like to think that I give as much as I take and I hope most bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere will back me up on that!
Can I hear an Amen?

Let Me Introduce You to the Band
PharmaGossip's PharmaBlog Band that is! Guess who's the lead guitar? See him here. Peter Rost, Ed Silverman, and Jack Friday himself are the backup members.

We Are Family
In a few short months I have seen the Pharma Blogosphere blossom into a strong family that has garnered a lot of attention. Much credit has to go to Peter Rost and journalist bloggers like Jim Edwards, Ed Silverman, and the guys at the WSJ Health Blog, for accelerating this process.

A growing family is bound to have problems as we learn to live together. So, just because this week Peter and I seem to be at odds, it doesn't mean we are dysfunctional. At least I hope not. Sometimes we can go too far and I am sorry.

That's it. I've done apologizing! Now back to the music...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Who Loves Ya Baby? The TOP 5 Blogs According to Industry Readers

As many readers of the Pharma BlogosphereTM blog know, back in February we hosted the First Ever Pharma Blogosphere reader survey. A sampling of results of this survey have already been published on this blog (see "Industry Bias in the Pharma Blogosphere" and "Pharma Blogosphere Survey Results - Who and Why?").

The full results of the survey will be published in the April, 2007 issue of Pharma Marketing News and presented at the Spring 2007 Healthcare Blogging Summit 2007 being held in Las Vegas on April 29. (I better get my ass in gear to get ready for that!).

In this installment I present some data showing the top 5 pharma blogs ranked by survey respondents who said they were employed at pharmaceutical companies. Recall that blogs were ranked according to Readability (layout, ease of reading and finding information), Usefulness (for keeping readers aware of the issues), and Credibility (accuracy of information). The results are shown in the following slide.

Note: N=43 industry readers; shows top five blogs in each category; only blogs with more than 5 respondent ratings were considered.

Some Take-aways
Only three blogs -- In the Pipeline, EyeOnFDA, and Pharma Marketing Blog -- made the "Industry Top 5" in each category. Props to In the Pipeline for being #1 in Usefulness and Credibility, and #2 in Readability!

Surprisingly, Drug Wonks was considered the most readable, but did not make the Top 5 in either of the other 2 categories. I reveal more about that in the upcoming Pharma Marketing News article.

Sorry, Peter, Question Authority -- popular as it might be among all readers -- did not make the "Industry Top 5" in any category! But I will say this: Industry readers thought that Question Authority was more supportive of the industry than did non-industry readers! In fact, it was second on that list (behind Pharma Marketing Blog) of blogs that the industry thought supportive. Perhaps if the survey was done over again today, industry respondents would have a different opinion! Perhaps more closely aligned with a view expressed on CafePharma; namely, "This Rost guy is a Michael Moore crony that is an industry and medical community outcast that has nothing better to do then sit at his computer all day long blogging about things he knows little about, blowing things out of proportion, and surfing porn."

Kind in mind that this survey covered only 22 blogs. Today the field is much bigger! Also, several blogs were very new when the survey was run and, consequently, may not have had enough history to be properly judged.

There will be another Pharma Blogosphere Reader survey in the Fall. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 2, 2007

'Round the Sphere: Rost Retires, Edwards Wages holy War, Byrd Flies, and Other Tidbits

It's been an interesting week in The Pharma Blogosphere!

I Won't Have Rost to Kick Around Anymore

First, Peter Rost (Question Authority) retires his blog in order to focus on his new movie (see "Rost Hit By PhRMA's PPA Bus: Shuts Down Blog"). He's dead to me now and I have removed the Question Authority blog from The Pharma Blogosphere list.

Holy Cow, Holy War!
Jim Edwards is getting me really mad! First, he claims I am pro-cancer. Now he says I am anti-science! Dude, I have an MS and MPhil degree from Columbia University in Biochemistry and majored in Chemistry at Franklin and Marshall College (phi Beta Kappa) and am a member of the New York Academy of Sciences! But Edwards seems to think I am just another hick from Pennsylvania, a God-fearing, bible-totting border state! Like I said, meet me at Christ Church at dawn (see "Holy War in Pharma Blogosphere Over Gardasil!")

Parents Don't Know Shit!
Meanwhile, Drug Wonks has a guest blogger (TV personality JOHN STOSSEL) who blames the media (how original for Drug Wonks and how "biting the hand that feeds him" for Stossel) for scaring parents about vaccinations (see "Scaring Ourselves Stupid"). Another attempt to paint opposition to MANDATORY vaccination as "anti-science." And however much Stossel's "heart goes out to parents struggling to help their autistic children," his brain is gone out to lunch. And I thought the conservatives believed that parents' rights rule!

Byrd in a Cage?
Has eDrugSearch Blog and Web site been shut down, hijacked, or subverted? See "eDrug Search Hijacked by Sleazy Link Farm".

I don't know about you, but I am getting concerned about recent troubles experienced by "insiders," "whistle blowers," and "anti-establishment" proponents in The Pharma Blogosphere. Are we all vulnerable?

What Else Is Going On?
Blogosphere Survey: The First Ever Pharma Blogger Survey has ended! There were a gross of responses -- 144, that is. From wikipedia I learned that 144 is the twelfth Fibonacci number, and the largest one to also be a square, as the square of 12. I also learned that 144 is the measurement, in cubits, of the wall of New Jerusalem shown by the seventh angel (Holy Bible, Revelation 21:17). Holy War Batman!

So when do I reveal the results? I may reveal a few results here from time to time as teasers, but I will make a full report available at the upcoming "Healthcare Blogging Summit 2007 (Spring)" in Las Vegas, where I will be participating in the panel "Navigating the Blogosphere."

CL Psych Blog: CL Psych Blog was rated as one of the TOP FIVE blogs in The Pharma Blogosphere in terms of readability, credibility, and usefulness. Not the highest in rank in any of those categories mind you, but right up there! Consequently, I have made it a point to check it out often.

This week CL Pysch liked what I had to say about Cymbalta, off-label promotion, and disease mongering (see "Cymbalta for GAD: Pimp That Thang"). To find out why CL Psych is talking about "Pimp[ing] That Thang," you'll have to read my original post ("eGAD! How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Cymbalta!").


OnThePharm: Still on vacation! More than a week ago, OnThePharm announced it was back from a week's vacation. Doesn't seem to make a difference -- no posts were made since then!

Eye On FDA: Mark Senak over at Eye On FDA weighed in on Gardasil and mandatory vaccinations in the post "State Status on HPV Mandates." Mark, who will be my podcast guest next Tuesday (see "Keeping an Eye on the FDA"), points out that some states are considering legislation to BAN mandatory vaccination (now THAT's anti-science!). He also belittled Washington state's proposal to include $25,000 for an awareness campaign on the subject of HPV. He thinks this is "measly." Au contraire, mon ami! Look what Merck got for $6,000! A great worldwide PR campaign that the majority of people responding to my poll think will BENEFIT Gardasil sales! (See "Does Merck Need a Vaccine for Bad PR?")

Pharma Giles: Pharma Giles examines Pharma CEO lookalikes (see "Lookalikes..."). He insults me, however, when he characterizes The Simpsons as a "children's television cartoon." Obviously, this Brit or Aussie blogger (I forget which) is not too familiar with US culture. Although that might be a plus in his favor, he really ought to get with it. As I keep telling my wife, The Simpsons is the longest running TV show in American history and I doubt if many kids watch it or can even understand its humor and political commentary! BTW, "Montgomerie (sic)" Burns is NOT the boss of a "nuclear reprocessing plant" -- it's a nuclear POWER plant! Jeez!

OK, that's it. I really got to do some work!

Friday, February 23, 2007

This Week in the Blogosphere

A couple of blogger denizens of The Pharma Blogosphere -- namely, Ed Silverman (Pharmalot) and Derek Lowe (In the Pipeline) attended an event hosted by the dark side of the The Pharma Blogosphere; namely, the Center for Medicine in the "Public Interest" (CMPI) -- the folks that bring us the Drug Wonks blog (see "Drug Wonks Are PR Wonks").

The PR wonks at CMPI do not like the way the press covers the pharmaceutical industry as anyone who reads the Drug Wonks blog can tell. Just today was posted an entry entitled "Good Article But Selective Reporting?" critical of a Wall Street Journal story about Genentech's Avastin vs. Lucentis for the treatment of macular degeneration. I am not going to get into this topic, but I merely quote what Drug Wonks says at the end of the blog entry:

"[Genentech] must change the conversation with consumers and doctors by giving them different and better information.

"As it can see (no pun intended), the media will not do it for them...."
So you can see what CPMI thinks of the press -- they just aren't nice lap dogs to the industry! And this is how it feels about the Wall Street Journal, friend of the pharma industry. Imagine what they have to say about the New York Times!

I can't imagine, therefore, that Ed got a warm welcome. He hasn't commented on it yet, though. Derek, however, wrote some comments about the conference in his blog (see, for example, "CMPI Conference: Panel on Media Coverage").

Derek posited that the Vioxx debacle had a silver lining -- it started a debate about drug risk vs. benefit (or "reward" as Derek calls it). But Derek didn't think the debate was "informed," by which I infer that he sides with CPMI -- ie, the press needs to give us "better" information.

BTW, I was invited to the conference and it was free of charge. However, unlike Ed Silverman, I don't have a corporate expense account. At least he took the train and saved the Star-Ledger some dough.

Hacker Scare
Several of us were a bit worried that Peter Rost's Question Authority blog was under hacker attack or being censored by the CIA or NSA (see "Did the CIA Shut Down Question Authority?" and "Access denied...?").

But it was all a testosterone tango between Rost and Pfizer's law firm. Rost calls it a click-a-thon (see " Click-a-thon with Pfizer's lawyers") but I think "testosterone tango" sounds better, don't you?

Rost is confident he can win the good fight: "So how can I feel confident? Because raw power and money doesn't always win; if you don't believe me, check out a place called Iraq . . ."

I think he may suffer the fate of "good sir knight:"

This animated version features a briefcase swinging lawyer-like good sir knight:

Speaking of a testosterone tango!

Gardasil Again!
Is Jim Edwards off licking his wounds? He hasn't posted anything to BrandweekNRX for a couple of days after he characterized a few of his fellow bloggers as "pro-cancer" because they disagreed with him on mandatory vaccinations (see Jim's original post and comments at "Pro-Cancer Crowd Forces Merck to Cave on Gardasil") He received quite a few comments, including my own retort (see "Pharma Blogosphere Row Over Gardasil!").

That's all for now...back to work!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pharmalot ... Post-a-lot!

Depending upon how you interpret the play on words, Pharmalot could conjure up the fantastic world of pharmaceuticals a la Camelot -- with all its potential and promise, but heading for a fall -- or it could literally mean a lot about the pharmaceutical industry!

I think it's lot, not Camelot.

Ed Silverman, who is the "guy behind the curtain" at Pharmalot, has certainly been a prolific blogger! In one recent day (February 16, 2007) Ed posted 10 entries!

In comparison, I have posted about 340 entries to Pharma Marketing Blog between January, 2005 and February 16, 2007 -- about 0.44 entries per day, which is only about 4% the rate at which Ed works his magic!

There are other bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere that post more than one entry per day to their blogs; PharmaGossip and Drug Wonks (see my review: "Drug Wonks Are PR Wonks") are two that come to mind. In PharmaGossip's case, the author ("Jack Friday" aka Insider), often merely posts a photo or video or text link to another blog or Web site. In the case of Drug Wonks, there is a bevy of contributors to spread the workload around.

But Ed appears to be a lone wolf at Pharmalot. How does he do it and still fulfill his duties as a veteran reporter for the Star-Ledger and as a father of three and master of a "sizeable labrador retriever?"

What's Behind the Curtain?
I suspect Ed has some help. The sheer volume of posts is one hint that Ed does not write all this stuff. The Pharmalot content is copyrighted by the Star Ledger ("all rights reserved" by the way). The newspaper must supply some help to Ed. I imagine a team of "cub" reporters "behind the curtain" with Ed, scanning news sources, fact checking, sourcing, headline writing, and producing draft copy that Ed edits.

It's all in a day's work for a "veteran" journalist.

Whatever the process, Ed manages to get his voice into it and his signature is the little quip he adds to the end of almost every post, as in the following examples:

"The legal battle may not be over, but Novartis is clearly losing the public relations war. But Dan Vasella doesn't appear to be listening." (Former Swiss Prez Tongue Lashes Novartis);

"Meanwhile, what will Novartis do with all those sales reps who were hired and primed to start pigeonholing doctors?" (Novartis' Galvus May Be Delayed: Analyst)
Dare I call these a bit "snarky?" which is a criticism I received once -- see "Snark Meter."

If it weren't for these little non-journalistic remarks, Pharmalot would be nothing more than a newsfeed. But Pharmalot is useful to me precisely as a newsfeed. It is one of the blogs in the Pharma Blogosphere that I read every day to "keep up" with what's going on in the industry. It's not a blog where I expect to find a lengthy discussion of issues.

Other journalist-driven blogs in the Pharma Blogosphere, like BrandweekNRX, take a different, more blog-like approach. But that's a topic for another review.

BrandweekNRX Up Next
I will be interviewing Jim Edwards, Senior Editor, Brandweek and creator of BrandweekNRX, on my Pharma Talk podcast this coming Tuesday, February 20, 2007, at 1 PM Eastern. For more information about this podcast -- how to listen live or access the audio archive -- see "Journalist Bloggers: An Interview with Jim Edwards."

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

This Week in the Blogosphere: Gardasil

The following is a sampling of Gardasil sightings in the pharma blogosphere.

Pharma Marketing Blog: In the post "Gardasil: To Be Mandatory or Not To Be Mandatory -- That is the Question," blogger John Mack points out that the Gardasil controversy raised several issues: promiscuity, parents' rights, drug risk vs. benefit, even disease mongering through lobbying. Mack concludes that "maybe it's not a good idea on the grounds of unknown risk to force mandatory vaccinations at this time. Merck, therefore, should back off from lobbying states to make it mandatory." What do you think -- take the Pharma Marketing Blog Poll.

BrandweekNRX: Jim Edwards obviously agrees with Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine that Gardasil is "Brand of the Year." See the post "Gardasil: Brand of the Year? Journalists like Jim could never express their opinions like this in the articles they write for their publications. We know they HAVE opinions, but without the blogs we'd have to infer what they are by reading between the lines. There isn't anything between the lines in blogs -- at least there shouldn't be. Except perhaps in corporate hack blogs. By this standard, BrandweekNRX certainly isn't a hack job! But what about Jim's articles in Brandweek? In his blog, Jim focuses his criticism on the promiscuity issue and puts himself squarely against the religious right. Now that I know his opinion of a major issue for the religious right, can I trust that his reporting on this topic in that publication will be "journalistic" (ie, balanced)? Again, I have to ask: will journalists change blogging or will blogging change journalism?

Pharmalot: This is another journalist blog. It's somewhat more difficult to read where Ed Silverman -- Phamalot's author -- stands on the issue of mandatory vaccination against HPV. I've read his post on the subject -- "The Lone Vaccine State: A Row in Texas" -- and cannot tell if he is for or agin' the Texas mandate that he writes about. Ed does cover all the issues and concludes "the overriding public policy concern here is finding the best way to promote good public health. Unfortunately, any number of state lawmakers may also benefit from industry support as they debate and promote the vaccine issue. That kind of bonus doesn't spawn confidence that the right thing is being done for the right reason. But there's no vaccine for that." From this, I conclude that Ed would vote that Merck should press on for mandatory vaccinations but not through aggressive lobbying (and politician payola).

World of DTC Marketing: In the recent post "A prime example of whats wrong with Pharma (Gardasil)," Rich Myer accuses Merck of putting "profits ahead of good medicine." He's ticked off about the price, lack of insurance coverage, and difficulty that physicians seem to having stocking the vaccine. He makes some good points. But Rich, you got to give the "We try never to forget that medicine is for the people" quote a rest! Seriously dude!

eDrug Search: I love the headline ("Mandatory Gardasil in Texas: Perry’s motives are a bit Merck-y"). I'll have to use "Merck-y" next timeI'm critical of Merck. Anyway, Cary is focused on the ties that Governor Perry has with Merck, which he picked up from News Hounds ("They eat their own - TX Governor Rick Perry under fire from just about everyone for mandatory vaccinations"): "Two of Perry’s former chiefs of staff currently work for Merck, and the mother of one of them is involved in lobbying for this … Has Perry just caved in for Merck? … His former c-o-s is being paid $250,000 by Merck to lobby for this, a Texas state legislator (Diane White Delisi) is pushing for it and working with Merck, and her daughter-in-law is the current chief of staff." Cary could have mentioned that Perry received a $6,000 political donation from Merck when he was running for office. Not that's there's anything wrong with that!

PharmaGossip: Nada about the current brouhaha over mandatory vaccination. Maybe the Insider will have an opinion later. It's always a good idea not to be too far ahead of the pack. You might just say something you regret. But Insider protects his identity very well, so I'm sure he doesn't give a crap about regrets.

Drug Injury Watch: Gardasil is not yet among the Rx products being tracked on this lawyer's(Tom Lamb) blog. Keep an eye out though for future lawsuits -- even class action lawsuits. I wonder if Merck has pit some money aside to deal with that possibility? What do you think Tom?

Drug Wonks: I was hoping that these guys would take up the issue of Gardasil and drug risk-benefit analysis. That would be right up their alley. Haven't seen it though.

That's all for now!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Pharma Blogs, Bush and Iraq

Pharma Blogosphere Survey!Bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere have political opinions just like you and I. And, as in the real world, the war in Iraq and president Bush dominate all other political issues.

Some of us interject our political comments in footnotes or analogies as when I said "To use a war analogy -- as is often done in industry -- sales and marketing executives tend to send in more troops when they fail to reach their goals with the current force level" (see "YouPharma(tm): A Brave New World of Marketing?"). From that, you can pretty much guess where I stand on the current US policy viz-a-viz the war in Iraq.

Even when I insert such comments, however, I try to stay focused on the topic of my blog, which is marketing, not politics.

But some pharma bloggers wear their politics on their sleeves as it were. In fact, they devote entire posts to political issues that have nothing to do with the pharmaceutical industry.

Two bloggers that come to mind who often do this are Peter Rost (Question Authority with Dr. Peter Rost) and "Insider" (PharmaGossip). See, for example, "Top villain of 2006: Bush wins over Satan..." and " Abu Ghraib Art".

Other pharma bloggers, such as Richard Goldberg and Peter Pitts (Drug Wonks) freely attack senators and other -- mostly Democratic -- politicians. See, for example, "Henry Waxman's Dangerous Political Science." Even so, Drug Wonks stay on the topic of their blog which is drug policy.

So, what's my point? Maybe it's that we are seeing some bloggers expand their horizons beyond the pharmaceutical industry. It's very difficult, for example, to categorize a blog like Dr. Rost's. In the beginning, his blog was 100% focused on the pharmaceutical industry. But he couldn't stop himself from sharing his views on other topics like sex and dead birds. He found that as he did this, his blog got more popular -- he was reaching a broader audience. So, he changed the name of his blog to Question Authority yadda yadda yadda...

I must admit that I like both these blogs precisely because you never know what you are going to find there! And I'm not just talking about politics. Rost includes many video clips from YouTube. One showed cars skidding in 1 inch of snow in New Jersey! It's all good entertainment.

In the first every Pharma Blogosphere Survey, one question asked is "What are some of the reasons why you read blogs about the pharmaceutical industry?" As expected, the vast majority of respondents say they read these blogs to keep up to date with industry news and gossip and learn more about industry business practices and regulations. But a surprising percentage of respondents also want to be entertained.

Not every blog in the Pharma Blogosphere can be entertaining. For example, I suspect that the blogs of journalists who work for large media companies (eg, Pharmalot and BrandweekNRX) and pundits that work for serious think tanks (eg, Drug Wonks) will not experiment much with entertainment. For example, you probably will never see a YouTube video let alone any anti-Iraq war rants on these blogs any time soon.

Just a few thoughts on what may motivate bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere.

Speaking of which, I am planning to interview many of these bloggers in future Pharma Talk podcasts. So keep in touch.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Drug Wonks Are PR Wonks

From time to time I will post reviews of blogs in the pharma blogosphere because I know you don't have time to find all the facts for yourself. Just so you know, these reviews are not unbiased or "balanced." Whaddaya think this is, wikipedia?

Let's start with one of my least favorite blogs: Drug Wonks. When I say least favorite, I mean most opposed to my worldview. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Drug Wonks is a blog hosted by the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI), which describes itself as "a non-partisan, non-profit educational charity." Ha! If you believe that, boy do I have a bridge to sell you!

The bloggers over there -- mostly Peter Pitts and Robert Goldberg -- would just as soon shoot my sorry ass as acknowledge the existence of Pharma Marketing Blog on their blog! That's how unbiased they are!

If there's one courtesy among us bloggers, it's acknowledging one another and linking to one another, if even the acknowledgement is a sound beating and put down, which is something I seldom do myself.

One good turn deserves another. So, you won't see me acknowledging or linking to Drug Wonks over at Pharma Marketing Blog. But I am happy to do so here (see list on the right) because inquiring minds like yours want to know everything about the pharma blogosphere, even if it is through the prism of my eyes.

Despicable Uber Alles
Peter and Robert are pretty sharp guys. In fact, they have pretty sharp tongues as well. The titles of their posts are often put downs of liberal senators (sometimes also not-so-liberal Republican senators like Grassley), academicians, or policymakers. A couple of recent titles illustrate the point:

  • Henry Waxman's Dangerous Political Science -- about "Henry Waxman waxing on and off about non-inferiority trials …" [Note that Robert doesn't even acknowledge that Waxman is a US Congressman and Committee Chairman. This is a typical put down maneuver used at Drug Wonks.]
  • Annal-yze This! -- about a "study" of DTC TV ads in the Annals of Family Medicine [Drug Wonks use of quotation marks as another form of put down]
  • The Left Wing Response to Bush Health Care Tax Cut: Medicaid Uber Alles -- ["left wing" is such an old put down, I'm surprised they even bother! and linking the left to a German phrase that conjures up Nazism is, is ... well I'm not sure how to describe it! Despicable! That's it!] I guess they aren’t doing a follow-up regarding Bush’s Medicare/Medicaid BUDGET CUT, are they?
After a while, all the put downs get tiresome. Can't we all just get along?

Conflict of Interest
Peter Pitt, the main force behind Drug Wonks, is a PR wonk as well as a drug Wonk. He is the co-founder of CMPI and Senior Vice President for Health Affairs at Manning, Selvage & Lee. I wonder how unbiased he can be as a spokesperson for CMPI while being a VP at a PR firm that services many pharmaceutical clients?

This conflict of interest is also a concern with a few other blogs in the pharma blogosphere. It's OK to have a point of view aligned with the industry, just don’t go around saying how unbiased you are!

Pitts also worked at the FDA as a PR wonk: From 2002-2004 Peter was FDA’s Associate Commissioner for External Relations, serving as the agency's "Chief Messaging Officer," where his challenge was to "clearly define FDA’s brand image and to communicate the agency’s main themes to its many constituencies."

What the hell is FDA's brand image? If you ask me, the FDA's brand image currently sucks (see "FDA Gets a 'C' from the Public"). I guess Peter didn't meet the challenge. Working a couple of years at the FDA, however, served him well.

Not Going to Debate You!
Drug Wonks claims to get over a zillion visitors every day! OK, maybe not that many, but a lot. However, there's not much interaction with the people that visit, despite the tag line "Debating Today's Drug Policies" in its logo. For example, I have not seen one comment left behind to any post! One wonders why they have a "comments" link at all if they are not going to accept comments, publish them, and respond! That would be "debating" the issues. Drug Wonks tag line should really be "Blasting Today's Drug Policies."

Another thing Drug Wonks does -- or doesn't do -- is not link out to sources of information within their posts -- unless, of course, it is an article or presentation or oped piece written by Pitts or Goldberg. They often link out to those sources.

Despite all this, I often visit Drug Wonks to see what bone they have to pick with industry "critics."

You can tell that I haven't any sense of camaraderie with Pitts and Goldberg like I have with other bloggers. These guys are part of a well-funded organization and live and work in a world high above my plane of existence. I do not sense they want to debate me or anybody else, if you know what I mean. You don’t? Well here's a clip from the movie Fargo that illustrates how I fell (piture me/you as Jerry). Enjoy!