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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.

Pharmablogosphere: Spam or libel?

Now and then I communicate with John Mack over at Pharmablogosphere.

He asks me to participate in his podcasts and I ask him to buy a t-shirt.

I didn't think there was anything unusual going on in this mutual exchange. Well, that is if you think it is perfectly normal for a former drug executive to suddenly support himself hawking t-shirts. But that's a different story.

I guess John, whom I love dearly, didn't have much to write about yesterday. So the email I sent to him showcasing all my pretty Question Authority T-shirts provided a welcome distraction for his writing passion.

So much that he made a post out of it, writing, Rost Spams!

And of course, John knows everything about spamming, considering that there was that little episode a couple of weeks ago, when CafePharma took him to task and deleted his posts, since they considered his messages, well, I guess, spam. You can read about that story in the PharmaRag, under the headline Naughty Boy John Mack at It Again? Or you could read his own post Banned from CafePharma and CafePharma's response on his blog.

So I could understand that John wanted to put the spotlight on someone else. Like me. And I agree with John that spam is bad, bad, bad. Spam is unsolicited bulk email. We all hate it.

There was just a little problem with my email to John, which I had hoped he would think was funny and not spam. It wasn't sent in bulk. Only to a few bloggers whom I knew. And it wasn't unsolicited, since we have an ongoing email relationship. And he could easily "opt-out" simply by responding. But instead he wrote that "Rost spams." And spam is a crime, punishable with big, big fines.

All of this wouldn't really matter, unless there weren't a gazillion lawyers paid by the Big Blue out there reading everything labeled "Peter Rost." So it is worth pointing out . . . no spam. But to accuse someone of a crime that never existed, is something else . . . libel.

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.

But he ain't getting any more special deals on t-shirts!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being an ex Pfizer VP, I bet you're not short of a penny or two to rub together!
Selling t- shirts to support yourself??? hmmnnnnn....its a bit of a step down from sales and marketing VP????

Blogger John Mack said...

Dear Peter,

Please accept my apology. See "Rost Raises the Isue of Libel: My Apology".

Can I get a T-shirt now? ;-)

Blogger Argon said...

I've been commenting on your blog for almost a year now and I've included links to my Cafe Press shops from time to time. I hope you don't regard that as spam, since the difference is that I've always kept my comments relevant to the post and hopefully added some insight to them.

The main quality that people hate about spam is 1st it's volume and 2nd that it rarely has anything to do with what your iterests are.

As long as your email wasn't just about the t-shirts and as you said that you had a previous relationship with email replies then I don't think it qualifies.

I'm glad you got an apology about it.

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Blogger Peter Rost said...



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