Thursday, June 09, 2005

Pharmablogger Returns!

Good evening, and welcome back to all of our loyal reader(s)! (Mom!!)

The news is just too rich too stay away. Let's start with our friend from Pfizer, Veep Peter Rost, recently profiled in this New York Times piece. It seems that Dr Rost is given precious little to do these days at Pfizer, after mouthing off about the truth of pharmaceutical marketing. He even reads some of the same books that we do! So why not fire him? Well, there's the possibility of Pfizer violating an anti-whistleblower statute.... Read the piece for more. Today. It's already a few days old, and the Times doesn't let you access the articles for very long.

Then we have our always reliable friends at Merck, who are responsible for two great pieces relating to Vioxx, and the pressure they place on researchers not to speak evil of their blockbuster. Start with this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer to get a taste of what kind of pressure they can exert. Than get a fuller picture from this piece from NPR's All Things Considered.

NPR got hold of documents that were obtained through some kind of discovery process at Merck. The New York times has done the same for Johnson & Johnson, to write this article about Propulsid. Let's focus on this sentence: "An internal company memo examined 15 of the proposed label changes and estimated that they would cost over $250 million a year in lost sales." That's just for a label change that many doctors will ignore anyway, continuing to prescribe off-label for the kiddies. No more need be said there.

There is a reference in the article to a film called "MAMA/M.A.M.A.," by Nonny de la Peña, which we have not seen. It's apparently about Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy disease. As a service, we will look into this film more. That's a particularly bizarre syndrome that we've read about in MedWatch reports for certain psychoactive meds we work with.

But we digress. After reading the Inquirer piece, like always our reaction began with "How appalling!" to "Gee, we wonder if we've ever done that?" Frankly, we have no idea. And no belief that we would ever find the truth about our company, absent a lawsuit with leaked documents.

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