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Pharmaceutical Whistleblowers Tell Their Tales Through Blogs,Congress Responds

NEWTOWN, PA, May 4, 2007 – This week’s edition of the PharmaBlogs: Week in Review e-newsletter addresses the continuing aftershocks of the “Zubillaga saga”, Congress’ attention to recent whistleblowers, and potentially tacky marketing ploys. Christiane Truelove, editor of Med Ad News and R&D Directions, summarizes the thoughts of popular industry bloggers on these topics.

Two recent Big Pharma whistleblowing incidents have unfolded almost entirely through blogs, namely the blog of Dr. Peter Rost. This caught the attention of California Democrat Rep. Peter Stark, who requested that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conduct an investigation of FDA's oversight of pharmaceutical marketing to physicians. BrandweekRx claims that these events mark a turning point in the industry’s relationship with the media, stating “How many other Congressional inquiry demands have been based on blog coverage?” 

About going to Dr. Rost to spread the news about her complaint, this week’s Pfizer whistleblower says “I tried going to Pfizer, hired a lawyer, and called the OIG. He [Dr. Rost] was willing to do what everyone else was not.” According to BrandWeekRx, both whistleblowers claimed to go to the Office of Inspector General first and got no response, so they went to Dr. Rost.

On the lighter side of this week’s blogs, it is noted that AstraZeneca sales reps plan to set up tables in doctor’s offices and distribute pink flowers and pink cupcakes along with breast cancer drug information to patients. Christiane notes “The bloggers writing about this gave the impression that they think this initiative is tacky. They’re also all men”. She then describes a truly tacky sunbathing sales rep tale she heard in the 90s and hopes tacky marketing tactics like these don’t make a comeback.

About PharmaBlogs: Week in Review
Designed as a time-effective approach to keeping current on the industry’s blog discussions, PharmaBlogs: Week in Review is the first online newsletter focused on recapping pharmaceutical blogs. The e-newsletter is published by industry information provider Engel Publishing Partners and sent to your e-mail inbox each Friday.

Posted: May 2007