Saturday, March 31, 2007
"In case you have been living under a rock, Rocky (alias Sylvester Stallone), was detained at an airport in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 16 with 48 vials of Human Growth Hormone. Now, the boxing community must brace itself and wait for the repercussions."
Intervista a Peter Rost, autore del libro "Global Pharma. Confessioni di un insider dell'industria farmaceutica". A cura di Giulia Innocenzi
L'autore, che è stato presidente di una azienda farmaceutica inglobata qualche anno fa da una potente holding che opera anch'essa nel settore farmaceutico, denuncia le attività illecite sotterranee delle multinazionali del farmaco.
Friday, March 30, 2007
This resulted in her blog exploding, she got a big muchos zeros book contract and now she won in court.
The Telegraph, UK, writes:
"In a test case for bloggers in France and beyond, a tribunal concluded that Catherine Sanderson, whose blog is said by some to be the equivalent of "Bridget Jones in Paris", had been dismissed "without real and serious causes".Her former employer, the British accountancy firm Dixon Wilson, which has offices in the heart of the capital, was ordered to pay 34-year-old Miss Sanderson 44,000 euros in compensation plus 500 euros in legal fees, and to reimburse the French benefits office the equivalent of six months of wages."
"Publicity surrounding her dismissal last year led to up to 30,000 people day reading her blog at petiteanglaise.com. She has since signed a two-book publishing deal worth almost £500,000."
Dixon Wilson: Boooooooooooooooooo!!!
Petite Anglaise: Congrats!
In fact, in a large clinical trial with 18,000 patients, researchers found 13 times as many patients treated with Zelnorm experienced heart attack, stroke, or angina compared to placebo-treated patients.
The actual number of patients affected, however, were small; only 13 patients, so who knows how bad this is.
The drug had been approved in July, 2002 for women who had constipation caused by irritable bowel syndrome. In August, 2004, men and women under age 65 could also use the drug.
This was a drug in search of patients, and Novartis had a hard time proving it was effective for anything. But they did funny television commercials of women with stuff written on their tummies.
In Europe, Novartis was never able to convince the regulators to approve the drug. Mean-spirited individuals might claim that was because European regulatory authorities are not paid off like the FDA. Of course, that is a simplification, which I don't believe is true.
FDA officials said Zelnorm might be able to return on a limited basis but only if a group of patients could be identified for whom the benefits outweighed the risks.
Yeah, that'll be the day.
Zelnorm was Novartis' 12th-biggest selling drug in 2006, with global turnover growing 30 percent to $561 million, of which $488 million was generated in the United States.
About 500,000 U.S. patients are taking Zelnorm, Novartis spokeswoman Anna Frable said.
Lawsuits next, anyone?
lobbying efforts influencing Congress. Included will be an expose of the
dirty tricks that were used to gain passage of Pharma's biggest profit
windfall: the Medicare Prescription bill which forbids price negotiations.
Congressman Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina who along with
Dan Burton, ar Republican from Indiana, tried but failed to prevent the
stampede. Jones says: "The pharmaceutical lobbyists wrote the bill."
"I've been in politics for 22 years and it was the ugliest night I have ever
seen in 22 years," says Jones of efforts by Republican Congressional leaders
to persuade defecting Republicans to vote for one of the most expensive
bills ever before the House.
The 60 Minutes airing coincides with a report to be issued by the Center for
Public Integrity, will focus on the number of government lobbyists employed
by pharmaceutical companies.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Here Wallstrip covers implants . . . and Allergan:
If you want more where that came from, go to http://www.wallstrip.com/theshow/
Hat tip: PharmaGossip.
Kidding aside, Jacob is doing a great job at his new job, blogging for the WSJ. So what's wrong with this picture? Nothing, except the lame and completely irrelevant intro advertising you are forced to watch.
Jacob Goldstein, from the WSJ blog.
Student punished for spaghetti beliefs
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The Flying Spaghetti Monster
A student has been suspended from school in America for coming to class dressed as a pirate.
But the disciplinary action has provoked controversy – because the student says that the ban violates his rights, as the pirate costume is part of his religion.
Bryan Killian says that he follows the Pastafarian religion, and that as a crucial part of his faith, he must wear 'full pirate regalia' as prescribed in the holy texts of Pastafarianism.
The school, however, say that his pirate garb was disruptive.
Pastafarians follow the Flying Spaghetti Monster (pictured), and believe that the world was created by the touch of his noodly appendage. Furthermore, they acknowledge pirates as being 'absolute divine beings', and stress that the worldwide decline in the number of pirates has directly led to global warming.
Pastafarianism gained wide attention when its key prophet, Bobby Henderson, wrote to the Kansas School Board during the height of the controversy over 'Intelligent Design' being taught in science classes. His letter, also published on his website, demanded equal time be given to the teachings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as was given to ID and evolutionary theory.
Since then, the Flying Spaghetti Monster has gained countless followers worldwide, although there are those who remain spagnostic.
The school, in North Buncombe, North Carolina, remains adamant that their decision to suspend Killian for a day has nothing to do with his religion, and quite a lot to do with his repeated refusal to heed warnings against wearing pirate outfits.
If you want to learn more about this religion and the Flying Spagetti Monster, go to Wikipedia.
Meet Mr. Senser, who runs Wal-Mart's security department, in front of his monitoring equipment. He formerly worked in internal security for the CIA and FBI.
If you think the image looks familiar, it is. Below is a very similar image of Jeff Kindler, CEO of the drug company Pfizer, in front of his monitoring equipment in Pfizer's security bunker, when he was chief legal officer and head of Pfizer's security department, which is led by a former FBI agent.
Clearly, based on these two pictures, both men are very PROUD of their snooping on employees. But there are limits, even for snoops.
So, back in 2003, when I brought to the attention of Pfizer management certain alleged inappropriate conduct among Pfizer's management, there was nooooooo way they found any way they could investigate. No way. Just couldn't do it. Or so they said. All the Pfizer FBI agents were helpless and suddenly rendered completely useless. Read all about that story in my book "The Whistleblower."
But Wal-Mart doesn't have any such qualms when it comes to looking into the conduct of its senior management. Or so Wal-Mart claims. Others claim Wal-Mart is just as selective as Pfizer when it comes to whom they choose to investigate. Says one former employee: “If it is someone they want to get rid of, they will go all out. If it’s somebody whose career they want to save, they won’t.”
From the front page article of New York Times today:
Bare-Knuckle Enforcement for Wal-Mart’s Rules
The investigator flew to Guatemala in April 2002 with a delicate mission: trail a Wal-Mart manager around the country to prove he was sleeping with a lower-level employee, a violation of company policy.
The apparent smoking gun? “Moans and sighs” heard as the investigator, a Wal-Mart employee, pressed his ear against a hotel room door inside a Holiday Inn, according to legal documents. Soon after, the company fired the manager for what it said was improper fraternization with a subordinate.
The article goes on to state:
But not all of Wal-Mart’s investigations involve money, or even high-stakes business matters, prompting employees to protest that the company’s investigative arm is, at times, used to intimidate employees who question authority or raise issues their bosses wish to remain secret.
Article continues here.
One final thought . . . ever noticed how the people who work for security organizations and who montior other people, suddenly end up in charge of all those people?
1. George Bush I who headed up the CIA, who became President USA
2. Vladimir Putin, lieutenant colonel KGB, who became President Russia
3. Jeffrey Kindler, Pfizer Chief Legal Officer responsible for Pfizer Security Operations became CEO Pfizer.
Makes you go: Hmmm.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
John Mack has kindly picked up on what I wrote in an earlier post. He also added an illustration . . .
But that's not what I'm crowing about.
He ended his post writing the following:
"Of course, not all of these blogs are equally valuable. Some are not truly 100% focused on the pharmaceutical industry. Some are as common, minuscule, and dormant as asteroids, some are over-rated gaseous giants, and some are verdant planets rife with life!Pretty soon we're going to need a scorecard!For now, I suggest that readers refer to the "Topics" list on the right. The more often a blog is mentioned in posts here, the higher it appears on the Topics list and the more significant the blog is, at least in my eyes. Right now, that's the best scorecard there is."
And here is John Mack's list (of course you will have noooooooo problem understanding why I thought this was important to communicate):
Dr. Peter Rost (14)
Blog Review (7)
Drug Wonks (6)
Pharma Marketing Blog (5)
Industry Critics (4)
'Round the Sphere (2)
Johnson and Johnson (2)
Pharma Watch (2)
Weird Stuff (2)
World of DTC Marketing (2)
Beaver Contest (1)
CL Psych Blog (1)
Cary Byrd (1)
Drug Injury Watch (1)
Eye On FDA (1)
Industry Defenders (1)
Pfizer Rep Bill of Rights (1)
Pharma Giles (1)
Pharma Rag (1)
Thank you John!
The judge asked security guards to check the woman’s T-shirt and he ordered the cameras to halt live transmissions. Initially, he mistakenly believed the woman was a relative of one of the 29 accused and thought she might have put some kind of message on her T-shirt.
The judge then decided the woman was free to wear what she liked and could come back to the court if she wished. The woman, who was not identified, is a member of the Association of those Affected by Terrorism.
I'm not quite sure what is suddenly so attractive about this area, however, since I figure they must all know something I don't, at least it inspires me to continue.
While that metaphore wasn't very tasty, many of the new blogs are.
Here's the last one: Pharmalyst, written by a student who wants to get into the drug industry.
Go to http://www.antiagingquackery.com/
Here are the headlines related to drug companies: http://www.antiagingquackery.com/pharma.html
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
"The Pfizer model is a failure," Alessandro Banchi stated, and his finance chief piled on: "We don't buy sales. We buy R&D."
Full story here.
He wasn't amused when I discovered a new blog and it turned out this blog had (gasp) forgotten to give him credit when using some of his stuff.
Oh well. All is now well. I hope.
The new blog, which didn't yet know that links are part of blog etiquette, has now apologized.
It is simple, and communicates well:
And . . . this blog has already caused some controversy, see comment section. Nothing like the blog-world to bring out whatever there is to address real fast.
Monday, March 26, 2007
March 26, 2007
Anna Nicole Smith And...Peter Rost?
An unllikely pair, but there's speculation a connection exists.
First, let's take Peter Rost. He's the notorious former Pfizer exec who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the drugmaker, alleging unlawful, off-label promotion of Genotropin, a human growth hormone treatment that he was responsible for marketing.
Now, poor Anna. The medical examiner's report, which was released today, indicates several prescription drugs, including human growth hormone, were ingested. Although the cause of death was overdose from methadone and antidepressants, her case may highlight HGH abuse.
As Rost notes on his own blog, HGH is prescribed for dwarfism and other growth deficiences, not the weight issues that plagued Anna Nicole. As Jim Edwards at BrandWeekNRX points out, this sordid publicity may work in Rost's favor. A federal appeals court is about to decide whether to let his lawsuit, which was denied last year a federal court judge, to proceed.
Hmm. Let's see. A corporate whistleblower. A drugmaker charged with nefarious behavior. A federal prosecutor. And an over-the-top dead celebrity and Playboy Playmate who looked like Marilyn Monroe. Sounds like a movie. Rost has said he wants to make a movie. Here's the script. Any guesses on who will play Hank McKinnell?
Hat tip to Jim Edwards at BrandWeek.
Posted by Ed Silverman
By Jim Edwards
Could Anna Nicole Smith's Death Boost Peter Rost's Case Against Pfizer?
I can't believe I am typing these words, but ... Given that the coroner today said that human growth hormone was found in Anna Nicole Smith's body, could that assist former Pfizer vp Peter Rost in his jihad against Pfizer?
For those of you late to class: Rost sued Pfizer when the company failed to respond to his complaints that Genotropin, the brand Pfizer acquired in the Pharmacia merger, was being marketed off-label to healthy people for vanity purposes.
A Massachussetts judge kicked Rost's whistleblower suit out of court, and the feds officially declined to show an active interest. But Rost recently appealed the judge's decision on the grounds that in order to show he has a case he would have to file confidential patient data in court—which, in a classic Catch 22, is against the law.
The feds perked up again when they saw Rost's appeal, and asked for time to file their own brief. Rost suspects that the DOJ suspects that if the ruling stands it will knock out any other pharma whistleblower case that relies on patient data. The feds likely don't want that because it would make it virtually impossible to bring a whistleblower case without violating patient data privacy.
Anyway, to bring this full circle—given that Smith was using HGH, that almost certainly means she was abusing it, says Rost (it's indicated for dwarfism and various GH deficiencies, not weight problems).
And given that her death has now highlighted the prevalence of HGH abuse (check it out on Google here), could this be the extra fact that tips the appeals court to overturn the decision and allow Rost's suit to proceed?
You can't make this stuff up. Perhaps this is the ending Rost needs for his alleged movie?
A statement by the medical examiner also indicates that Anna Nicole Smith appears to have abused Human Growth Hormone, together with Vitamin B12. HGH is often abused by bodybuilders to increase muscle mass, and is also illegally prescribed together with B12 and other vitamins and hormones, in an attempt to stop aging. The Guardian came to the same conclusion, and wrote that Anna Nicole "had recently taken longevity medications, vitamin B12 and growth hormone."
In fact, the autopsy report states that "chronic repeated injections of various medications in buttocks" had resulted in "fibrosis with fat necrosis of dermal and subcutaneous tissues, bilateral gluteal regions and anterior right thigh." So Anna Nicole had injected herself so many times that the fat cells died in both buttocks and on the front of her right thigh . . .
Drug that killed Smith:
Chloral Hydrate (Noctec). This drug is used as a sleeping agent, and most of the time only prescribed if the person can not take benzodiazepines.
Other drugs contributing to death:
1. Diphenhydramine (Bendaryl), used to control allergic reactions.
2. Clonazepam (Klonopin), a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and panic attacks.
3. Diazepam (Valium), a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal.
a. Nordiazepam (metabolite). Diazepam is metabolized to nordiazepam which is an active metabolite.
b. Temazepam (metabolite). This is a minor active metabolite of diazepam.
c. Oxazepam (metabolite?). This agent was not described as metabolite in report, but it should be noted that diazepam breaks down into oxazepam.
4. Lorazepam, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety.
Additional drugs not contributing to death:
8. Atropine, used to temporarily increase heart rate or as an antidote for inadvertent overdose of cholinergic drugs. Likely to have been used during resucitation attempt.
7. Topiramate (Topamaz), used to stop migraines.
8. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), used to treat a variety of bacterial infections.
9. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), used to control mild to moderate pain and to reduce fever.
(Watch police chief's conclusions on investigation )
During the course of the autopsy, filed under Smith's given name of Vickie Lynn Marshall, doctors found evidence that Smith had an abscess in her left buttock that had been perforated by a needle, probably when she took injections of either the growth hormone or vitamin B-12, the medical examiner explained. The perforation allowed bacteria to get into Smith's blood, which caused a high fever in the days before her death.
I think this is all very interesting. What we don't have is data on p-values, statistical significance, number of responses, etc., so it is hard to judge how scientifically rigorous this data is.
The smaller the p-value, the more significant the result is said to be. For example, if someone argues that "there's only one chance in a thousand this could have happened by coincidence," they are implying a 0.1% level of statistical significance.
The lower the significance level, the stronger the evidence and if there are too few respondents, like only ten or fifty, then the result may have more to do with coincidence than reality. So while the blogs below that are red may indeed be more negative, the difference between them may not be statistically significant.
That's the theory.
But since none of this data is presented with any of the information needed to actually evaluate the data, it becomes less about science and more about entertainment.
Having said that, you may not be surprised if I think one has to be careful evaluating what you see below . . .
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Trials have shown that the hormone-based patch, Intrinsa, helps women both think about sex and want it more often. It works by releasing the male hormone testosterone into the bloodstream.
More from the Telegraph.
The availability of the patch is likely to increase the following situations:
Everyeone remembers Meg Ryan and "I'll have what she's having."
Here's the German version, from "Mädchen Mädchen."
Oh, one more thing . . . the lady in the car? She says: "Next time we'll take our bikes."
Finally, Love Island's Sophie does a Meg Ryan without actually using Intrinsa.
Warning: These are all actors, they are not enjoying themselves. Only Intrinsa can do that for you, taken together with a good man.
And you can only get this drug in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. The patch, sold by U.S. drug company P&G, has failed to receive approval in the U.S.
Several members of the Food and Drug Administration's advisory committee said they were not satisfied with the number of women studied so far, the length of the studies and the modest benefits of the drug. No word on how many of those members were men (probably most of them). By a 14-3 vote, however, federal advisers said that benefit was "clinically meaningful."
Disclaimer from another blogger, here.
Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July fifteen.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.
Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget. Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?
Q: How old is your son, the one living with you?
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.
Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.
Q: And where was the location of the accident?
A: Approximately milepost 499.
Q: And where is milepost 499?
A: Probably between milepost 498 and 500.
Q: Sir, what is your IQ?
A: Well, I can see pretty well, I think.
Q: Did you blow your horn or anything?
A: After the accident?
Q: Before the accident.
A: Sure, I played for ten years. I even went to school for it.
Q: Trooper, when you stopped the defendant, were your red and blue lights flashing?
Q: Did the defendant say anything when she got out of her car?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did she say?
A: What disco am I at?
Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about
it until the next morning?
Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year old, how old is he?
Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?
Q: Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?
Q: Did he kill you?
Q: How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?
Q: You were there until the time you left, is that true?
Q: How many times have you committed suicide?
Q: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
Q: And what were you doing at that time?
Q: She had three children, right?
Q: How many were boys?
Q: Were there any girls?
Q: You say the stairs went down to the basement?
Q: And these stairs, did they go up also?
Q: Mr. Slatery, you went on a rather elaborate honeymoon, didn't you?
A: I went to Europe, Sir.
Q: And you took your new wife?
Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?
Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q: Was this a male, or a female?
Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice
which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
Q: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an
Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
Q: Did you check for breathing?
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.
Q: You were not shot in the fracas?
A: No, I was shot midway between the fracas and the navel.
Hat tip Scribd, an amazing new site to upload your documents!
And you've wondered, how do I do that.
This is how, go to this automatic FOIA generator:
Saturday, March 24, 2007
So this is what I won, the thinking blogger award, thanks to PharmaGossip, nominating this blog "For never, ever giving up. Ever!":
Here are the rules.
It seems like several of my favorite medical blogs have already been getting this award, so here are some very different next winners:
For amazinginly deep and interesting posts.
For turning her life into a blog that is fascinating to follow.
http://www.hello-sunshine.blogspot.com/ and http://ms-marybelle.blogspot.com/
As PharmaGossip said, "There could have been many others. But rules are rules." And I already broke them by nominating six blogs instead of five. After all, this blog questions authority.
A paper published in The Lancet has put together a scale to assess the relative levels of harm from various drugs, both legal and illegal: Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse, The Lancet, Volume 369, Issue 9566, 24 March 2007-30 March 2007, Pages 1047-1053, David Nutt, Leslie A King, William Saulsbury and Colin Blakemore.
The work was carried out by a group of eminent scientists and the surveys were designed to rate drugs for harm for three different categories; physical harm, dependence, and social harm.
The notewory result is that alcohol, which is legal, is one of our most dangerous drugs, and cannabis, which is not legal (except for Amsterdam) is less dangerous than both alcohol and tobacco. Of course, this chart also puts into question our entire drug enforcement policy.
And the third most dangerous category of drugs?
Barbiturates - manufactured by Big Pharma.
There is a beautiful website, here, showcasing kids' basic drawings and how they are made into art using some adult talent. Here's one example:
Friday, March 23, 2007
03-16-2007, 02:05 AM
Anonymous Posts: n/a
SWINDLER-GIVE OUR MONEY BACK
YOU TAKING (AND DO MEAN TAKING) MORE MONEY SETS THE TONE FOR THE WHOLE COMPANY. YOU CAN NOW EXPECT EVERYONE ELSE TO GET 36% RAISE SINCE YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO BE THE EXAMPLE. YOU REALLY MADE A SACRIFICE AT 36% WHILE EACH OF US AVERAGE COST OF LIVING. YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY AMERICA IS FED UP WITH PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES? DAH!!!! GIVE OUR MONEY BACK, WE EARNED IT
PFIZER SALES REPS
#2 03-16-2007, 12:50 PM
Anonymous Posts: n/a
Re: SWINDLER-GIVE OUR MONEY BACK
TO PFIZER REPS,
Thank you for your concern. Don't worry everything is in good hands with my rich buddy circle, I mean board of directors. They take of me and I take care of you as I always have. Remember 23.9. You are the best and the smartest field force in the world
I LOVE YOU GUYS
#3 Today, 04:35 PM
Anonymous Posts: n/a
Re: SWINDLER-GIVE OUR MONEY BACK
have faith in me and the board. We are making some great strides and look to report some good news at POA. You will get to see a video presentation of me recieving my 36% raise which is the first good news I have to report since I have been here. Keep selling hard. We need to make the numbers for you. Dont worry our management team is already taken care of regardless. I love this free enterprise system. It works great
And here are some additional headlines today from Pfizer's message board on Cafe Pharma:
Mr Swindler-I got 36% raise too
SAY NO TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Mc Kinnel Interview: No Comment on Current Pfizer/I Want A Role Where I Can Add Value
my retirement journal from hank
Kindler's gets a 36% base-pay raise and more-is this fair?
Name me one leader in senior management
And what did it say?
It said I had failed.
A full 9% of pharma respondents who regularly reads a blog thought that "Question Authority" was somewhat or very credible.
That is rather shocking.
I mean, clearly, these 9% should be fired, ALL OF THEM, for insubordination!
To imagine that pharma employees would like anything on these pages is like imagining Komsomol (Kommunisticheskiy Soyuz Molodiozhi (Коммунистический союз молодёжи), or "Communist Union of Youth") organizers reading Wall Street Journal and loving it.
You know what would happen with those little Komsomolskis if they admitted to loving the WSJ, and the same, of course, will happen to any pharma employee admitting to liking my message.
BUT, I think John Mack is hiding something. Clearly he has indicated that he will not reveal the overall data from his survey until he goes to some kind of drug summitt. So he's visiting the real drug lord hard-liners, and to those he will reveal all the juice he found out about us other bloggers.
So we don't know if maybe 90% of all non-pharma people who didn't read blogs on a regular basis LOVED my blog. Which would, of course, also be a COMPLETE failure, considering that this blog is designed to be provocative, confrontational, irreverent, mocking, impertinent, flippant, and impudent, in order to make as many people as possible, including fellow bloggers upset.
And in spite of this hard work to provoke everyone, I know that there is almost no other blog John Mack subconsciously loves more than my blog, no matter how hard I try.
How do I know that?
Because his blog lists his TOP OVERALL TOPICS in the right column:
Dr. Peter Rost (12)
OK, so he loves Jim Edwards at BrandweekNRX a tiny weeny little bit more, but hey, I'm second in John's heart. And that makes me feel warm and fuzzy, considering that John still does quite a bit of work for the drug lords.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Peter Rost, Novelist, Gets First Fiction Contract
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
From the front cover of today's digital edition of New York Magazine:
3/21/07 Cultural Capital 5:18 PM
Sells Another Book
Pfizer executive turned whistleblower Peter Rost is back doing what he does best: skewering his erstwhile industry. Rost was notoriously banished from Big Pharma after exposing tax fraud at Wyeth and illegal marketing at Pfizer; his tell-all The Whistleblower came out last year. His new project, a novel called The Wolfpack, was sold last week to Pagina AB in Europe. (It's now being shopped to several publishers in New York.) "I wrote the story because I wanted to reveal the thinking inside a corporation, using the thriller format," Rost says of his "Grisham-style" crime drama. The story follows a fictional drug company that develops a biological weapon and murders its enemies. Although Rost insists none of the characters are based on former colleagues, the new book is about "just how far corporate executives may be willing to go and what happens when one guy stands up to them." Fiction, huh?
PFIZER WHISTLEBLOWER CHALLENGES CLAIM DISMISSAL
"The DOJ said that the legal issues in the case could have a substantial impact on the scope of the False Claim Act’s jurisdictional bar and the pleading requirements for complaints, and said consultations between the affected agencies must take place in order to determine whether an amicus brief will be filed."
--A former marketing vice president at Pfizer Inc. is appealing the dismissal of his whistleblower lawsuit accusing the pharmaceutical giant of illegally marketing a successful biotechnology drug, human growth hormone Genotropin.
The appeal, filed by Dr. Peter Rost in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on March 15, challenges the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to toss the action last September for lack of jurisdiction.
Rost was in charge of worldwide marketing for Genotropin, a recombinant, or manmade, human-growth hormone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Genotropin to treat certain hormonal deficiencies in children and adults.
However, Pharmacia Corp., the Peapack, N.J.-based subsidiary Pfizer bought in 2003, began marketing and selling the drug for other uses, such as increasing growth in short children and delaying the aging process in adults.
Rost filed his lawsuit in June 2003, alleging violations of the False Claims Act by New York-based Pfizer and Pharmacia. According to Rost, who began working for Pharmacia in 2001, Pfizer’s off-label marketing for Genotropin boosted the company’s sales by as much as $50 million in 2002 alone.
Rost was fired from Pfizer in December 2005 after his complaint was unsealed. His allegedly wrongful termination became the subject of a separate lawsuit filed the same month in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The suit also resulted in a criminal investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts.
Pfizer filed a motion to dismiss Rost’s case on Aug. 30, arguing that his complaint lacked subject matter jurisdiction and failed to plead fraud with particularity.
Specifically, Pfizer said the court couldn’t entertain the suit because it was based on facts the company had already disclosed to the government.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro agreed, finding that Rost’s complaint failed to identity an actual false claim that was submitted to the government for the reimbursement of an off-label prescription of Genotropin.
Tauro found that Rost simply speculated that Pfizer’s marketing activities caused physicians to prescribe Genotropin for off-label uses and that federal and state government health care programs reimbursed some of the prescriptions.
But Rost, who had vowed to appeal the September ruling, has refused to go down without a fight, and has renewed his claims that federal and state public health care programs paid not just one but many claims for improper off-label use of Genotropin sold as a result of Pharmacia’s illegal marketing campaign.
“Pfizer may dispute the number of claims submitted to governmental entities, the total amount of the claims or the proportion of claimants who took Genotropin for unapproved uses,” the appeal states. “They may even dispute whether Pfizer continued these practices after it acquired Pharmacia. But this much is certain: Pharmaceia turned Genotropin into a cash cow by illegally peddling a dangerous drug to make short kids tall and their grandparents young.”
The appeal argues that Pfizer is “well aware” that such claims were submitted because it keeps insurance claims information for the 30,000 Genotropin patients in its computer database.
Simultaneously with Rost’s filing, the U.S. Department of Justice on March 15 moved for a thirty day extension of time to file an amicus curiae brief in the case by April 26.
The DOJ said that the legal issues in the case could have a substantial impact on the scope of the False Claim Act’s jurisdictional bar and the pleading requirements for complaints, and said consultations between the affected agencies must take place in order to determine whether an amicus brief will be filed.
Rost, reached by e-mail on Wednesday, pointed out that he had overcome three of four hurdles in his lower court case, and the fourth hurdle was “essentially a technicality.”
“This particular [court] requested a specific false claim on a specific patient to be submitted,” Rost said. “That is a very tough hurdle to overcome, and quite frankly, if that would be applied to all false claims cases in the future, there will never be a drug company again convicted in the First Circuit."
Rost added that it would be illegal to obtain this information under the patient privacy protections as part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, leading to “a catch-22 situation.”
“If the district court ruling is not overturned, the False Claims Act is all but dead as far as drug companies are concerned in the First Circuit,” he said. “There is also a bigger issue at stake here: With today's highly charged political climate within the Justice Department, what they actually do one month from now will say a lot about the government's interest in prosecuting big company fraud.”
Pfizer spokesperson Bryant Haskins said the company could not comment on pending litigation but noted that the district court "dismissed Rost's case in its entirety," adding that Pfizer is confident the appellate court will do the same. Attorneys representing Pfizer could not immediately be reached for comment.
Rost is represented in the matter by Kreindler & Kriendler LLP. Pfizer is represented by Covington & Burling LLP.
The appellate case is USA ex rel Dr. Peter Rost v. Pfizer, case number 06-2627, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
The district case is USA v. Pfizer Inc. et al, case number 1:03-cv-11084, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
--Additional reporting by Erik Larson
Wikipedia explains that a tumblelog is a variation on traditional blogging that favors very short, mixed media posts with little or no commentary.
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.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
"This occurs just as the scandal breaks over White House interference with US Attorneys, suggesting the decision may provide clues about the extent to which the DOJ will be committed to pursuing corporate fraud."
Peter Rost vs. Pfizer: The DOJ Is Back
In a boost to Peter Rost, the pharmacetical gadfly, the Justice Department is seeking permission to have until April 26 to file a friend-of-the-court brief in a qui tam, or whistleblower case he brought against Pfizer. Rost charged Pfizer - and Pharmacia, his former employer, which Pfizer acquired - with violating the False Claims Act by off-label promotion of Genotropin, a growth hormone treatment for which he had been responsible.
For those with good memories, Rost's claim was denied last year by a federal court judge in Boston. Before that, the US Attorney in Boston declined to join his case. So why is the Justice Department getting involved now? The reason cited by the judge for denying the claim was that Rost failed to show harm to a single patient, which is quite difficult to do in an age of tightening privacy laws. By taking that view, the judge may have made it very difficult for the US Attorney in Boston, which is successfully chasing drugmakers for off-label activities, to file additional charges under the federal False Claims Act.
"Resolution of this case could have a substantial impact on the Act's jurisdictional bar and the pleading requirements for complaints brought under the False Claims Act," the DOJ writes in its motion, which refers to the "importance of the legal issues raised by this case." By seeking extra time, the DOJ hopes to convince the US Solicitor General to pursue the matter and file a friend-of-the-court-brief to accompany the appeal Rost filed the other day.
This occurs just as the scandal breaks over White House interference with US Attorneys, suggesting the decision may provide clues about the extent to which the DOJ will be committed to pursuing corporate fraud. Now, Pharmalot understands why Rost, who recently restarted his blog, looked so happy two days ago during a chance meeting in a Borders book store.
"Something wonderful is happening," he cackled. Well, not for Pfizer.
Pharmalot has the DOJ motion and will provide a link as soon as possible.Posted by Ed Silverman
Turning his back on a potentially lucrative payday, Delta Air Lines CEO Gerald Grinstein said Monday that he is refusing any stock, stock options or cash when the carrier emerges from bankruptcy.
Grinstein, who has led the USA's No. 3 airline since January 2004, said he wants Delta instead to invest what he would have gotten in post-bankruptcy bonuses, to be used for scholarships and emergency hardship assistance for Delta employees, families and retirees. Under a post-bankruptcy compensation plan unveiled Monday, Grinstein could have been expected to net about $10 million, including such bonuses, over about three years.
Delta hopes to exit bankruptcy in May. Grinstein, 74, who plans to retire this summer, said it wouldn't be right to take money intended as an incentive for future executive performance.
When I started writing a blog I kind of perceived it as a poor man's option. If you can't afford to start a newspaper, you can always start a blog.
But that is not how things have played out.
As blogs have proliferated, so has newspapers' interest in blogs.
The most recent one, started March 13, is the WSJ's Health Blog which offers news and analysis on health and the business of health.
The two lead writers are Jacob Goldstein and Scott Hensley. Jacob came to The Wall Street Journal from the Miami Herald, where he was a medical writer. Scott Hensley has covered the drug industry for many years as a reporter for the Journal and, is also the editor.
Just like the WSJ, this blog is fabulous.
In an attempt to take the guesswork out of such speculation, Catherine Arnold of Credit Suisse examines a host of issues confronting the 13 major drugmakers, and in an investor note this morning, decides that Wyeth and Bristol-Myers Squibb rate as the highest 'natural' targets, while Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline are the most likely acquirers.
The combinations deemed 'very' possible:
Pfizer + Wyeth;
Novartis + Wyeth;
Glaxo + Bristol;
Glaxo + Astra;
Sanofi + Bristol.
My comment: Verrrry interesting. Although, I have to admit, Wyeth has been to the altar a number of times and managed to get out of tying the not.
What wasn't mentioned above is that there are really only two drug companies that would make a good investment for the next ten years, based on pipeline and lack of patent expiration. And that is Wyeth and Novartis.
Perhaps another reason for the two to join in holy matrimony?
Best analysis, however, goes to WSJ, here is a graphic representation of the future of the drug industry, which I humbly think is not too far-fetched:
That's why Kindler is being re-named Swindler......You think this guy is getting paid for his hard work? He is getting paid for keeping things under closet...and fight all the illegal activities that are bound to come out over a period of time in the future....Hank and Karen also got paid because of this....they got lot of skeletons in the closet....dont worry all will come out slowly............Torcetrapib was a dud long time ago and it was known to the senior managemnt way back but they kept it under the carpet because they had hoped that over time the results would favor Torcetrapib arm but it didn't happen (it killed patients in the process) and they were forced to release the truth.....So Hank got canned but with hefty pay off.....it is believed that there are still several bad things lurking inside..(recently Zyvox deaths report).....that's why they hired an attorney Mr Kindler turned Swindler......Now you can figure out the rest.....
"A lot of times when I was short, I would create a level of activity beforehand that would drive the futures. . . . It's a fun game," Cramer says in this webcast, which was moderated by Aaron Task.
Jim Cramer also said that "no one else in the world would ever admit that, but I don't care." Then, he said, "I'm not going to say that on TV."
Helloooooooooooo Jim! You are on TV! And all over the Internet!
I wonder . . . why did the corporate PR spin firm Robinson Lerer & Montgomery stay so long reading my blog today . . . 9 minutes. I mean, I know them well, and they visit my blog twice a day, every day (check out "returning visits" above), and have apparently also monitored me and my public comments in the news media a long time before I started blogging.
Could it be they stayed so long today because there were several posts about . . . Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery on my blog yesterday?
Like this one: "Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery: Corporate Bad News Spies" in which a well known journalists reveals Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery spied on him too!
Or this one: Amazing . . . in which I feel pity for the spies, um, I mean PR people, over at Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery, since clearly the hard-headed people at Pfizer are not taking their advice.
I dunno. Or maybe they just want to come here like all the other folks to be entertained?
Of course, it is probably not part of a fancy crisis management/PR company's image to be written up by journalists and bloggers they're spying on. PR companies are supposed to be invisible.
Then again, this might be excellent PR for Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery . . . since other troubled companies may now beat a path to their front door. Perhaps they have just been waiting for me to write about them, wondering what it would take to get mentioned on this blog?
Monday, March 19, 2007
The film details the many aspects of the Vioxx debacle from the perspective of patients who assumed the life-threatening pain reliever was safe because a bureaucracy stacked against anything and everything but big business didn't tell them otherwise.
For more info go to http://www.sickpills.com/
Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery: Corporate Bad News Spies
Peter Rost has written an interesting post which mentions that his blog is read every day by a pr firm called Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery, which, he claims, works for Pfizer. Rost and Pfizer are locked in a legal-and-PR deathmatch stemming from this.
I wouldn't normally mention this as it's not drug marketing related, but the name of the PR firm rings a bell with me. So I went back through my collection of business cards and pulled out an RLM card for svp Anne Granfield. Turns out, years ago, when I was covering the Ogilvy & Mather corruption trial, Anne was assigned by O&M to monitor me. She certainly wasn't assigned to give me quotes from O&M, because the trial lasted weeks and she didn't give me anything.
We spoke about her assignment before the trial started when I noticed she was sitting near me in court with a notebook that had my name on the top of the page, and a description of what I looked like underneath it. My very own PR stalker!
RLM's web site indicates that indeed they are spinmeisters for truly troubled companies. They specialize in "“reputational programs … Crisis management, [and] Litigation support.”
One question: What exactly is Pfizer getting for its money with RLM? Rost certainly isn't getting any quieter. And I have difficulty getting Pfizer to return calls even on the days when I've got good news to write about them.
(Note to Pfizer pr Pfolks: Guys, not every story has to be bad news. This, for instance. Try picking up the phone. Transparency is a powerful thing. Just because you're not talking doesn't mean all my other sources disappear—why give them all that free mileage?)
During the past week, "Question Authority" passed super-blogs such as Dilbert and Dooce.
See Alexa traffic rankings below.
I guess, it is good to stop blogging for a week and then come back . . .
What is even more amazing is that none of this traffic related to revealing videos or other cheap thrills. Nope. People came here to read my open letter to Pfizer's CEO, which has received over 4,000 "Diggs."
Pfizer PR firm Robinson, Lerer, Montgomery has been monitoring me and my blog every day for the last few years; are you listening?
If I were you I'd go into crisis mode and start giving Pfizer management some better advice. Then again, maybe Jeff doesn't want to give back his 36% raise . . .
I know, I know, I used to be on the agency side, just like you, once upon a time.
It really sucks when the client doesn't take your advice, especially on avoiding whopping pay raises for the CEO at the same time a lot of people are getting the axe.
Unless, perhaps, you mean they didn't ask you for your advice?
Well, then surely they can't blame you and no one is going to dare to point out to Jeff how bad this looks, except for me. You are safe.
Unless you happen to send a clipping of my blog to Jeff . . .
Sunday, March 18, 2007
The posts below appear on CafePharma today:
Swindler Pharmaceuticals Inc.
The Swindler Pharmaceutical Promises!
Pfizer another Enron?
Morale and Pfizer at all time low...
SWINDLER-GIVE OUR MONEY BACK
VP's Questioning Sales Directors on field morale
Katens Package $76.8MM
Poll: Name Change to Jeff Swindler
Kindler took home $11.4 Million and I got bupkiss
Kindler's gets a 36% base-pay raise and more-is this fair?
Was Kindler wrong to accept 36% raise?
Of course, it may appear childish for adults to resort to name-calling. But for anyone experienced in corporate management and with some knowledge about public relations, this is a very, very serious warning sign about an organization that is starting break apart and lose loyalty among its employees.
After cut-backs and terminations only a spark was needed.
That spark was Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler's 36% raise.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Hank McKinnell, retired Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Inc, has joined the advisory board of ultra-luxury destination club leader Solstice. . . . "We are honored that Hank has joined our advisory board. His extraordinary talent, global business acumen, and diversity of expertise will prove invaluable as we expand the Solstice brand," said Solstice CEO Chad Morse. . . As a member of the Solstice advisory board, McKinnell joins a team of other respected and seasoned business leaders (my italics) who will help shape the company's continued focus on architecturally significant homes, personalized service, and financial transparency for the expanding destination club industry. . . . The current residence collection includes ten architecturally significant homes throughout the United States and Europe with average values exceeding $6 million and a private 90-foot yacht. For more information, visit http://www.solsticecollection.com.
Here are some of the properties Dr. McKinnell will assist "managing." Hopefully they will lose less value than Pfizer did during his tenure (hat tip PharmaGiles):
You made $11 million last year, you just fired 10,000 employees, and you got a 36% raise this year.
And that's the problem.
You can't cut back and fire ten thousand hardworking people, and tell them about the new management style you're bringing to the company, and then accept a 36% raise in base pay.
That makes you lose credibility. (And I'm not even taking into account how you fell flat on your face, trying to hype torcetrapib.)
Your predecessor was shipped out of Pfizer dressed in tar and feathers, holding his $200 million grab bag, to the sound of employees and shareholders chanting "Give it back, Hank." The WSJ even wrote an article with the headline "Off with their heads," based on Pfizer's executive pay for non-performance.
If you read what your employees are saying, such as this, you will realize you just lost their respect; they've stopped calling you Kindler and replaced that with Swindler.
And without those employees and their support, you are just one man, putting his legs into his pants, one at a time, like the rest of us.
Without the support of your employees, you will fail, just like your predecessor.
Jeff, please act like a leader: Don't accept the raise.
You already made $11.4 million in 2006. You can afford to do the right thing.