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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.

Apology accepted, John!

In drug rep school, and most other sales schools, they teach you that the most beauiful word in the whole wide world is the customer's name--at least to the customer. For some reason, if the sales rep keeps repeating the docs name, or whomever the customer is, the customer will melt and give the sales person everything he wants.

I'm sure you've met a few people who've been trained in that school, and has that annoying habit of throwing your name into every second sentence.

Of course, I don't believe that gimmick really works.

But anyone who has ever had a serious relationship knows that the most beautiful words--for the other party to hear--are:

"I was sooo wrong, so very wrong."

Repeat this sentence several times, and you may just get anything you wish.

And that means I'm experiencing very euphoric feelings, now when my dear friend John Mack, just wrote a post called Rost Raises the Issue of Libel: My Apology.

As you may remember John is the genius behind Pharmamarketing and The Pharmablogsphere and recently wrote the fascinating post Barbie Drug Reps I'd Like to See. He is also the guy who kind of claimed that I spammed.

And just so I can read John's lovely post over and over again, here it is--and don't miss the video he threw in at the end!

Rost Raises the Issue of Libel: My Apology

OK. I started this, so I should finish it.

A few days ago I accused Peter Rost (Question Authority) of sending me unsolicited bulk e-mail (spam) in violation of the CAN-SPAM law (see "Rost Spams!") . Yesterday, Peter retorted that it was not spam because he did not send the email in bulk and only to people he has had a previous business relationship with.

In that retort Peter raises the issue of libel (see "Pharmablogosphere: Spam or libel?"). When Peter threatens legal action -- even between the lines -- you have to take notice.

As you may know, Rost has other, bigger fish to fry (ie, Pfizer) and he is concerned that any accusations against him could hurt his case. So, I feel his pain.

He says: "Of course, I figure that John was just having fun and not seriously accusing me of a crime, so I'm not seriously accusing him of libel."

Peter, you know I don't think you are a criminal. If anything, I wanted to point out that I thought your e-mail was in violation, something that could happen if you didn't know the details of the CAN-SPAM law (silly me to think that you wouldn't know the details). That is, I never thought you intended to break the law.

But let's examine if it was spam at all.

Looking at the header of the e-mail that Peter sent me, it appears that it was indeed sent by Peter personally using hotmail with multiple recipients in the BBC field. People do that in regular business correspondence to keep the recipients' e-mail addresses confidential. You might recall that failure to keep e-mail addresses confidential is what got Lilly into hot water with the FTC (see "The FTC-Lilly Consent Decree: What it Means for PHARMA Vendors and Partners").

I guess what Peter did is not considered a "bulk" e-mail tactic. If that is the case and the e-mail was sent to acquaintances, it fails to meet the definition of spam and would not be covered by the US CAN-SPAM act. Also, it means that Peter used techniques to protect the privacy of recipients.

I feel, therefore, that I owe Peter an apology for calling him a spammer. Sorry, Peter.

Can I get a T-shirt now?


Blogger Argon said...

It was a good apology for the most part but I have to wonder about him including that video of Micheal Richards, since his apology didn't go over so well.

This seems like the year for them, since several have had to do the pulbic mea culpa thing. Maybe it's the PR people not doing there jobs enough to stop it before it gets out of hand or that people have gotten so intolerant and sensitive about stuff. It's more likely the latter.

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Blogger John Mack said...

The apology is genuine. The video was inserted to poke a little fun at myself and the recent spate of apologies that you have alluded to. As Peter says, a sense of humor is needed to read his blog and mine too!

Blogger Peter Rost said...

I agree with John. He's a great guy. Go visit his blogs!!!

Blogger Peter Rost said...

And I thought John's selection of video was great!


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