PETER ROST: PHARMA MARKETING EXPERT WITNESS. AWP, MEDICAL DEVICE EXPERT.: Pfizer employees: Do I really resemble Jim Carrey in "The Mask"?

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Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Pfizer Marketing Vice President providing services as a medical device and drug expert witness and pharmaceutical marketing expert. Judge Sanders: "The court agrees with defendants' view that Dr. Rost is a very adept and seasoned expert witness." He is also the author of Emergency Surgery, The Whistleblower and Killer Drug. You can reach him on rostpeter (insert symbol) Please read the terms of use agreement and privacy policy for this blog carefully.

Pfizer employees: Do I really resemble Jim Carrey in "The Mask"?

Recently I received an absolutely amazing e-mail from a Pfizer employee. And the attachment he sent was even more unusual; an internal "faux newsletter" mocking the company and spread throughout Pfizer.

And, in a mock interview with me, on the last page, this newsletter used a picture of Jim Carrey in the Mask. I can only take that as a compliment. After all, he was pretty fast on his feet . . .

Below are links to the newsletter (you HAVE to read this!) and then the email:

Click here to download Pfizer newsletter in pdf. (Free Acrobat reader here).

The e-mail from the Pfizer employee:

About this time last year, Pfizer were pursuing an exercise called "Adapting to Scale" (i.e, cost-saving by firing employees and closing sites). A huge corporate spin-doctoring programme was launched to convince we humble employees that ATS was a good thing for everyone, with lots of glossy pamphlets and a deluge of smug e-mail, none of which of course had any actual meaningful or informative content.

You might remember some of it.

Anyway, some naughty person (or people) took it upon themselves to spread around a little parody of the "ATS newsletter", by strategically-placed hard copies left around in various places on various sites. This apparently drove corporate security nuts because without an e-mail trail, they couldn't nail anyone. Rumor has it several folk were frog-marched to security bunkers and interrogated about the origins of the fake newsletter, as apparently several of the very top guys had seen it and didn't like it, presumably as it was all too close to the truth.

All the secret police activity did was to prompt a second edition. Don't know if you saw it as it was out about the same time you were. In fact, I now wonder if you wrote it all.

But in case you didn't, I've PDF-ed my cherished copy of volume two and attached it. I've been meaning to send it for a while - your post showing Pfizer's latest letter to your brief finally convinced me I should. It may be nearly a year old but much of its content has proved to be strangely prophetic.

Please don't mention my tag or track me down as I still owe my living to the Evil Empire and their arm is long. But as this little publication mentions your name several times, I thought it only fair you see it if you haven't already.

I'd never heard of you until I saw this AtS rip-off, but I've been quietly following your activities ever since.

There's a lot of long-serving folk here at the Evil Empire who hope that you can make life as uncomfortable as possible for the current clutch of jargon-spewing corporate arrivistes we have as senior management.


Anonymous ORSunshine said...

The newsletter is definately worth reading. The funny thing is, even though it is specific to Pfizer, it's really just indicative of a problem that you encounter everywhere in corporate America. People get so bogged down in legalese and lawsuits and CYA and they have to justify their jobs so they come up with new policies and procedures... what does it do? Produce disgruntled employees!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Rost,

I’ve been following your BLOG for a while. Until now I’ve remained silent out of fear that Pfizer would somehow find out about any correspondence with you or any BLOG postings (yes, even anonymous ones). However, you seem to have more and more Pfizer employees speaking up about the ‘hypocrisy’ within Pfizer. After reading these past few posts and finishing your new book, I too must finally share with you the sad tale of a Pfizer colleague dying of HIV/AIDS and how the group I work for, which manages employee disability benefits, cut off this individuals disability pay and all of their healthcare benefits in the middle of their dire medical/life situation.

As I too still work for the company, I would appreciate to remain anonymous and to not be tracked or traced. I’ve seen what the company is able to do when it wants to silence its employees forever.

Within just two weeks of learning that this employee had HIV/AIDS and could no longer work while beginning highly active anti-retroviral treatment (HAART), my department saw the writing on the wall. As per the Pfizer short-term disability policy, if this employee’s medical provider did not feel this person was able to work, this employee would have to be paid their regular earnings for the foreseeable future—without doing any work. (AIDS is kind of like pregnancy. You either have it or you don’t. The treatment itself is highly toxic and causes symptoms as bad as the progressive disease itself. I would not wish AIDS on my worst enemy.) Despite the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, my department ‘decided’ that this employee did not provide enough medical documentation to prove this person was unable to work. I guess a Doctor’s note and medical records were deemed insufficient. Without telling the employees Doctors, family members or the employee, the company terminated their pay and health-care insurance benefits and left this employee to find out on payday that their account would have no funds deposited in it and that payment of their medical premiums had been cancelled. When the sick employee realized that they had no money in their account and called the payroll department, they were told that their short-term disability had not been approved for lack of documentation. They would now have to pick up their own health insurance costs. So here was a Pfizer employee sick with HIV/AIDS with no money and cancelled health-insurance policies. Life is our life’s work I guess. I have had to live with this story for sometime now.

In contrast to the hysterical faux-AtS newsletter, this sad tale is true. This employee told me that they though it might help if they notified the chief M.D. of Pfizer employee health and Sylvia Montero, Karen Katen, Jeffrey Kindler, David Shedlarz and Hank McKinnel, which they did. I guess that not one of these Pfizer executives was practicing Pfizer ‘values’ and ‘leader behaviors’ that day. The Human Resources Chief did, however, invite this employee to explore their legal options. Looking back now, I guess these executives were too busy fighting internally for their multi-million dollar salaries, stock options and golden parachute packages. Life is our life’s work?

Please keep my identity confidential. I just needed to get this true story off of my chest. I called the employee a few times, knowing however that I was unable to tell them the truth of what I knew and had witnessed. I don’t know what ended up happening to this employee but I do know that such harassment of an employee during the worst moments of their life is truly unforgivable. I am obviously looking for another company to work for. God forbid my husband, my children or myself should develop a serious disease such as HIV/AIDS and attempt to rely on Pfizer health benefits.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe dying, impoverished Pfizer 'colleagues' can call Jeff Kindler for a referral to a fancy, white-shoe pro-bono lawyer to bring Pfizer in front of a jury of its peers. With the right white-shoe help, who knows what truths would finally reach the light of day. Kindler has, after all, been given the Pro Bono Award from the Greater New York Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association. Kindler has also been quoted on this BLOG as saying "I am very proud to be part of Pfizer and a legal division which is dedicated to helping others."

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may have more to do with the insurance company Pfizer has contracted with than with Pfizer. I was not employed when I had major surgery in 1980. It was a pre-existing condition, and I knew I had to pay out of pocket, which I did, and thanks to fraud by the hospital four times. Then, when I later sold my home, there was again a lien against my home by the hospital, and they were paid once again. The amount was just taken out of the check I received on the sale, via the closing attorney. What is important, though, is that my insurance was cancelled completely, while I was still in the hospital. When I came out of the hospital I inquired with government agencies and an attorney and was advised that I should continue paying my premium and they would have to reinstate me. I promptly did so and was reinstated - for two months - after which my monthly premium was increased to a multiple of my income and I could not pay that amount. Then I was cancelled for non-payment, even though I had sent in the old payment amount, and on time. I could not get any health insurance thereafter, and no work either, even though I had completed College again - I had already done that in Europe - as well as a number of other certificates and programs. This is a very USUAL and not an UNusual story in the U.S. It costs taxpayers money, because most of such persons go on welfare, Medicaid, and no longer pay taxes. I did not. As an immigrant I had not yet worked in the U.S. a full ten years, although I had worked a total of thirty years in Europe and the U.S. together. We do need a national healthcare policy, and insurance companies which do not only cash in premiums but also pay out when needed. If you are older and still do not have supplemental insurance, moreover, Medicare may not help you much longer. Medicare reimbursements are scheduled for a 37% reduction over the next 9 years and doctors are already now not accepting any new medicare patients, and, where I live, letting go of whole Medicare practices. Medical care should not be up to employers and insurers; it should be up to us, and we must insist upon action by Congress on those Medicare reimbursement cuts (5% in January), high Medical Malpractice Awards Caps, a National Policy on Healthcare for everyone - again, it cost everyone, you too, if persons have to go on Welfare/Medicaid -, this is not a freebee. And Medicare patients will continue to pay their monthly premiums out of their Social Security Check, even if they can NOT find a doctor to treat them. Moreover, I personally experienced that if you have been a Medicare patient you can not even get private medical care; it was not allowed to take a Medicare patient as a private patient. All patients will also be unable to find physicians, especially in certain specializations, such as neurosurgery, obgyn and orthopaedics, if neighboring states have lower caps on Medical Malpractice Awards. The doctors will simply move there, or go out of practice altogether. I am old, and a Medicare patient, not an advocate for physicians, and I have run into the problems of not being able to find a doctor, and, as described above, not being able to get health insurance, personally. I know the reality of what I am discussing. Talk to your doctor about these issues where you live. And call Congress to protest about the state of affairs. Or, like me, you may have to be a cripple for a quarter century before you can get necessary surgery, or not get it at all. Or, your wife may go into labor and there IS no obgyn. You may be in a carwreck and no orthopedic surgeon to be found within a reasonable one hour's distance. These things are already happening NOW. A call, or an email to congress is easy. Your call or email may save someone's life. If you save ONE LIFE you save the world. And that one life might be YOUR LIFE. Think about it. Emails, calls, etc. do not cost. We all have a voice now through the internet. Let us all use it for a good purpose.

Of course, in addition to all that, there is also the problem with corporations, being put on ice, terminated, and all sorts of shenanigans, such as not getting paid at all, even though you have a valid contract, signed by all parties to the contract, illegal immigration and more of this interesting illegal behavior, and it goes on everywhere. It happens to many, many people. I thought it was ME, because I was, at the time, an immigrant, although a legal one, and soon an U.S. citizen. Such things as Federal taxes and Fica are taken out of a person's paycheck and then not passed on to the proper authorities. That has an effect on the inflow into the Social Security Fund, Medicare, and what not, in addition to the Medicaid OUTFLOW to certain, selected ILLEGAL immigrants. Legal immigrants usually are not eligible for such freebees.

Blogger Benedict 16th said...

Dear Anonymi,
It sounds like you would be better off moving to Cuba?

Blogger Markbnj said...

Hey dr. R.

Just saw that year old newsletter, and it is SO SO SO funny.

and where's the latest letter from them harrassing you?

Anonymous shade said...

I'm glad you fixed the link to the newsletter. I needed a good laugh today. I think the author must be British 'cos no red-blooded 'Murkin I know would know (much less use) the word "whilst" which appeared several times.


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