Monday, April 09, 2007

The Zubillaga Affair and Employee Blogging

John Mack has written a thoughtful analysis on the AstraZeneca Zubillaga affair, called "The Zubillaga Affair: Effect on the Prospects for Pharma Blogging."

It is worth reading.

The final conclusion, however, is a real whopper. John Mack writes:

Rules for Pharma Employee Blogging

The following personnel should NOT be allowed to contribute to employee blogs:
  • Marketing, sales, legal, or corporate communications personnel
  • Managers or higher

The following personnel should be ENCOURAGED to contribute to employee blogs:
  • Rank and file employees including secretaries, assistants, etc.
  • Research and development personnel, including clinicians, lab people, etc.

I have to admit that I fail to understand why a secretary could be more trusted blogging than someone in legal, or corporate communications personnel. John, are you OK over there???

Frankly, to think that any highly regulated pharma company would encourage their employees to blog at anytime, anywhere, about anything, including the company is ludicrous.


PharmaGuy said...


Thanks for picking this up in your blog.

My idea for pharma employee blogs is to help pharmaceutical companies bring opinions of the rank-and-file employee to the forefront.

We always here from the corporate folks and the sales and marketing folks as well as managers, directors and CEOs. But I seldom get to hear what these rank-and-file people think.

I would not trust ANY employee to submit posts without some oversight! But the oversight should be a decision to post the entry or not to post it, rather than submitting it to corporate communications for a re-write. The employee can be asked to reword some things to protect trade secrets, etc., but the employee can opt-out of having the edited post put into the blog.

The important thing is to hear the "voice" of the rank-and-file. I believe that many of these people are honest people who believe in what their companies are doing and they may not like some excessive marketing and sales practices that we all see criticised every day.

From the perspective of the pharma company, I would think they would not want negative blog posts from employees pointing out the problems of the industry -- there is enough of that on cafePharma and elsewhere.

What the industry needs -- and frankly what I'd like to see -- is genuiune POSITIVE stories told in the real words of employees. Yes, it may be one-sided, but it is the side of the story the industry always complains never gets told. The problem is, when industry hacks, CEOs, etc. tell the story, they are unbelievable! (and for good reason)

I am not particularly interested in the stories of sales people, marketing people, PR wonks, or legal eagles -- these employees may be incorrigible BS artists!

We need some stories from genuine pharma "folk".

PharmaGuy said...

Sorry, I meant "hear from" not "here from" ;-)

Anonymous said...

Does BIG PHARMA share with the public and with doctors all that it knows about the root cause of cancers, diabetes, Alzheimer's, etc.? Knowledge that might lead to a decrease in the number of sufferers rather than the epidemics we are currently seeing?

Are the buckets of money what they see as rates of these and other disorders are rising?