PETER ROST: PHARMA MARKETING EXPERT WITNESS. AWP, MEDICAL DEVICE EXPERT.: J&J hosts a wild blogger party in New York!

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PETER ROST: PHARMA MARKETING EXPERT WITNESS. AWP, MEDICAL DEVICE EXPERT.

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) hotmail.com. Please read the terms of use agreement and privacy policy for this blog carefully.

J&J hosts a wild blogger party in New York!



Monday night this week J&J hosted a wild blogger party at a fancy New York restaurant, taking an entire floor to give them privacy. Of course, J&J has a lot of experience doing this sort of thing with doctors, and what works for docs probably works just as well for bloggers.

They invited some key healthcare bloggers to learn about pharma bloggers, who we are, how we work, and whether the company should get involved in blogging in any way. And they knew the best way to get people to talk, was to let the alcohol pour freely, so J&J hosted an open bar.

And, no, I wasn't invited, which is of course a terrible snub by J&J and their blog consultant. And because of this major blog faux pas, I had to check out who all those other bloggers were, who were invited.

Apparently the list was Fard Johnson of Healthcare Vox, Nicholas Genes from MedGadget, Peter Pitts from DrugWonks, Steven Palter from Doc in the Machine, Ed Silverman from Pharmalot. Jim Edwards from BrandWeekNRX, Peter someone from CPMI, Fard someone from Envisioning 2.0 and Gene Ostrovsky from blogborygmi.

Truth be told I'd never heard half of those names. Jim and Ed I know, but the rest?

Who are these wise men? Clearly no women . . .

Anyways, lonely and miserable with no party, I checked the Alexa traffic ratings for those blogs, and most of them didn't even show up. That put me in a good mood again. After all, if I get invited to a party, I want bloggers who are read, not just have opinions (and I exclude Ed Silverman from Pharmalot and Jim Edwards from BrandWeekNRX in this rant, they are both fabulous writers and have incredible blogs with terrific traffic.)

And more by the way, the only two writers who have announced they paid their own tab is Ed Silverman and Jim Edwards. They were also the only seasoned journalists at the party. The other bloggers fell right into the trap and let themselves be fed and loaded with alcohol, and defended that decision vigorously (see comments below).

The peson responsible for snubbing me appears to have been Adriana Cronin-Lukas, whom J&J has hired as a consultant on blogging. Lukas told Jim Edwards that she’s trying to get J&J to give all their 120,000 employees a blog, on which the workers could write whatever they liked. Jim didn't like that idea, since he felt it was a journalist’s dream and a brand manager’s nightmare.

On this I actually disagee with Jim. Here's the deal. If 120,000 employees each get a blog from their employer, that employer will know exactly what those 120,000 employees are saying. Does anyone think for a second that they will say aaaaaaaaaaanything critical? Of course not. Instead you'll have the Internet flooded with happy little messages about the company they work for.

As far as I'm concerend, Adriana Cronin-Lukas might just be a devilishly smart lady. Imagine 120,000 PR persons working for your company! Soon employees will be expected to post something happy about their organization every week, or the won't be considered team players!

As you can tell, I may not support this idea. But based on what I just wrote I probably convinced J&J this was a good idea.

See, J&J, you should have invited me! I wouldn't even have insisted on paying.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Steven F. Palter, MD said...

Peter--

Sorry you missed the party and even more so that you are unfamiliar with most of us who were there. Many of us were familiar with each other's work. I am sorry to say you are mistaken as to who was responsible for the invites- it was NOT the blog consultant but rather one of the J&J people directly. In my case he was familiar with my site and the recognition and award nominations it had received in the short time since its start.

As a former Yale researcher and someone who has conducted industry drug and device trials you and I would have had a lot to discuss- as I did with Peter about FDA policy issues.


While the Alexa numbers are lower in some cases, most of the bloggers there are winning awards, recognition, or influencing others to a great degree in their respective genres- or providing a unique perspective. BTW you mixed up a few affiliations- Nick is from medgadget and blogborygmi (the originator of the weekly medical grand rounds carnival) and gene is from medgadget.

As far as pay for dinner, nope I did not foot my own bill - but then again I did not bill them my expenses for travel, my customary hourly consulting fee for industry to pick my brain, nor did I eat the desert- ka-ching. It takes a lot more than a steak and fries with strangers on a precious night off of work to corrupt me and buy my influence. An Pedi ID professor once told me "you know you have made it when nothing the drug rep can give you is worth 15 minutes of your time." Maybe if they flew me to Paris for the dinner...

A Wide range of opinions and backgrounds were present. Collaborations were discussed, J&J listened, the bloggers talked openly at times and discreetly at others about issues, recommendations, controversies, and scandals.

Forget the 120,000. Heck, if it was 1977 somebody would suggest giving them CB radios. Some people want to court controversy. One of my suggestions was for industry to partner with the patient and self-help groups running wild with unmoderated and unreviewed medical advice sites, blogs, and chats. Industry could provide a real service by partnering with them to provide moderation and commentary from experts when requested or needed. I voluntarily do this constantly but industry could help formalize these pro bono steps to mitgate the massive disinfomation on the internet.

Hope you have a chance to check out docinthemachine where I write about the impact of future technology on medicine. I provide an insight from my perspective as clinical physician, academic researcher, industry consultant, device developer, and medical society officer.

Hope to see you around. you can see a photo from dinner and some comments at docinthemachine blogger dinner

Steven Palter, MD
DITM

3/21/2007  
Anonymous Steven F. Palter, MD said...

Peter--

Sorry you missed the party and even more so that you are unfamiliar with most of us who were there. Many of us were familiar with each other's work. I am sorry to say you are mistaken as to who was responsible for the invites- it was NOT the blog consultant but rather one of the J&J people directly. In my case he was familiar with my site and the recognition and award nominations it had received in the short time since its start.

As a former Yale researcher and someone who has conducted industry drug and device trials you and I would have had a lot to discuss- as I did with Peter about FDA policy issues.


While the Alexa numbers are lower in some cases, most of the bloggers there are winning awards, recognition, or influencing others to a great degree in their respective genres- or providing a unique perspective. BTW you mixed up a few affiliations- Nick is from medgadget and blogborygmi (the originator of the weekly medical grand rounds carnival) and gene is from medgadget.

As far as pay for dinner, nope I did not foot my own bill - but then again I did not bill them my expenses for travel, my customary hourly consulting fee for industry to pick my brain, nor did I eat the desert- ka-ching. It takes a lot more than a steak and fries with strangers on a precious night off of work to corrupt me and buy my influence. A Pedi ID professor once told me "you know you have made it when nothing the drug rep can give you is worth 15 minutes of your time." Maybe if they flew me to Paris for the dinner...

A Wide range of opinions and backgrounds were present. Collaborations were discussed, J&J listened, the bloggers talked openly at times and discreetly at others about issues, recommendations, controversies, and scandals.

Forget the 120,000. Some people want to court controversy. One of my suggestions was for industry to partner with the patient and self-help groups running wild with unmoderated and unreviewed medical advice sites, blogs, and chats. Industry could provide a real service by partnering with them to provide moderation and commentary from experts when requested or needed. I voluntarily do this constantly but industry could help formalize these pro bono steps to mitgate the massive disinfomation on the internet.

Hope you have a chance to check out docinthemachine where I write about the impact of future technology on medicine. I provide an insight from my perspective as clinical physician, academic researcher, industry consultant, device developer, and medical society officer.

Hope to see you around. you can see a photo from dinner and some comments of mine at docinthemachine blogger dinner

Steven Palter, MD
DITM

3/21/2007  
Blogger Peter Rost said...

Great to hear from you Steven and for coming over here!

I will check out your site some more.

And always make sure to read the disclaimer to this blog, in upper left corner, it explains a lot!

:)

3/22/2007  
Anonymous Steven F. Palter, MD said...

Peter-
Yes I read the disclaimer and enjoyed it. My comments were along the same lines :) Sorry for the duplicate comment post that darn enter buttonwhile I am trying to prove I am human to your randon letter generator. I have seen many of the things of which you write...Happy to have not been involved.

3/22/2007  
Anonymous Fard Johnmar said...

Peter:

Thanks for your post. I'm sorry you've never heard of me, as my blog is read by a number of folks throughout the healthcare industry. As I like to say to my clients, reach is about more than Alexa numbers.

I haven't said much about my attendance at the dinner, mainly because I didn't feel like I had to. However, I will say that yes, J&J picked up the tab for my food. I considered it an even exchange, as I got an opportunity to meet some of the folks there and they got to pick my brain about a host of issues relating to social media and healthcare blogs. The fact that I'm not only a blogger, but a communications consultant who works with a number of health companies, including pharma had a little something to do with it as well.

In certain cases, I have paid my own way -- primarily when I'm invited to dinner by folks I am covering on my blog. I also regularly disclose apparent or implied conflicts of interest when I'm writing about organizations.

Anyway, it's a treat to be mentioned on your blog. I unsubscribed to your RSS feed when I learned you had quit blogging, but now it's time to come back.

Best,

Fard Johnmar

3/22/2007  
Blogger Peter Rost said...

Thanks Fard for coming by, it is an honor. And now I've discovered your great blog!

3/22/2007  
Anonymous Jim Edwards said...

Hi John,
At the risk of giving myself a headache by extending this (non)controversy, I have to say that ultimately I did not pay for my own dinner at J&J's blogger summit. It is the policy of Brandweek not to accept gifts from sources. However, our policy does allow us to accept the occasional meal/drink in the normal course of business. Here's how this works in practice: Generally, when I dine with sources I pay the tab. If I am covering a media event which has been catered (say a conference) I usually don't pay my tab because doing so would be logistically difficult (should I ask the conference organizers to invoice my bagel and tea?). Sometimes, if I dine regularly with a source, the source will pick up some tabs simply because it becomes rude to continually insist on paying the bill when you've known someone for months or years. In the instance of J&J, which was a catered media event more than a one-on-one source meal, I wrote to the hosts afterward and offered to either a) pay for my meal and wine or b) pay for a future meal with one of J&J's execs to even things out. J&J chose the latter option. I ran all this past my boss, and this was the policy we agreed to pursue. For the record: It takes more than a piece of trout and a glass of wine to buy me off.

3/25/2007  
Blogger Peter Rost said...

This is an interesting topic. Let me emphasize again, if J&J had invited me, I would not have paid for dinner. I figure that as someone involved in litigation, who will be required to show that I did everything I could to support myself, I have a legal obligation to mitigate my damages by accepting dinner from anyone, anywhere. Right Pfizer?

3/26/2007  
Blogger dkruglyak said...

Great discussion.

I did post my thoughts on Johnson & Johnson dinners in the broader context of where blogger relations are heading. Note further thoughts from Peter and my replies in the comment section. To his point, yes, ongoing litigation adds a real twist to his choices.

My summary is that it is a good thing that large health / pharm companies are finally recognizing the bloggers and trying to engage in a dialog. With the full range of views (and gift / commerce policies!) available in blogosphere we are going to get the 360 degree of any issue anyways.

Good thing is that J&J understands these "rules" rather than tries to fight them as others have done to major embarrasement.

3/26/2007  
Anonymous AmyT of www.diabetesmine.com said...

Interesting stuff, guys. I am just waiting for the top patient bloggers to start getting invited to these shindigs.

And let me just say that I would be happy to let J&J or Other Pharma Co. pick up the bill: with the clear understanding that I remain untethered.

I worked in high-tech PR for years, and helped companies host lots of journalists for dinner. Often the host co. still got slammed the next day in the paper :) It's all part of the 5th...

3/26/2007  
Anonymous Adriana Lukas said...

Oh dear.. snubbing you, Mr Rost? Why on earth would I want to do that? Thinking along your lines - I would be a very bad 'blogging consultant' indeed if I encouraged my clients to upset bloggers... But then, I may also be devilishly smart. :) Let me ponder how that works...

As for a blog for every J&J employee... eek! Don't recognise myself in that at all. Here is
the comment
I left on Jim Edwards post about that, here it is:

But man, 120,000 JNJ bloggers...that's not just a brand manager's nightmare! And "mob-driven series of collaborative networks"... somehow I don't see JNJ employees as very mob-like. Not a big fan of Ayn Rand in free-for-all-sense - I'd rather have meaningful change and innovation over an anarchic shake up. But your interpretation of my position reads a lot more sensational... :)

This whole thing has some interesting aspects... might be worth a post on my own blog at some point.

4/24/2007  

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