Sunday, May 6, 2007

SIN = MedAdNews "Pharma Blogs: Week in Review"













What I find very interesting, is that this summary IS INCORRECT. I have highlighted the parts that I believe to be in error, and CAPITALIZED MY RESPONSES (NOT SHOUTING :)):
"Pink cupcakes
On the lighter side, there has been some note made of AstraZeneca's breast cancer drug marketing initiatives centered around Mother's Day. Dr. Rost posts AstraZeneca's directive to to sales representatives . The May and Mother's Day-centered initiative promotes MUMs (Mothers United for Mammograms), which AstraZeneca's Missy Moran of the Mid-Atlantic Sales Team says offers the company an opportunity to not only support breast cancer education, but "can also be leveraged to enhance our presence in key accounts . . . Utilize this campaign to gain access and enhance selling opportunities for Arimidex, Abraxane, and Faslodex with your key accounts." The idea is for sales representatives to set up tables in waiting rooms and other areas ("chemo areas can be successful") and distribute pink flowers, information in pink Arimidex bags ("They will also be highly visible throughout the entire office"), and pink-iced cupcakes ("Refreshments and food will help attract patients to the table."). The bloggers writing about this gave the impression that they think this initiative is tacky."

DAMN RIGHT!! WE DO THINK IT is TACKY OR WE WOULD NOT HAVE SAID SO. DID YOU FORGET THAT THE MAJOR SIDE EFFECT OF CHEMO IS NAUSEA?? DID YOU FORGET THAT ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS DRINK CLEAR FLUIDS DURING CHEMO? DID YOU FORGET HOW SICKENING THE CLOYING SMELL OF REFINED SUGAR IS TO SOMEONE WHO FEELS NAUSEOUS?

They're also all men.


DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! THIS BLACK KITTY HAS HER EARS BACK AND IS SPRINGING INTO ATTACK. ALSO SEE YOUR BLOGGERS FOR MORE WOMEN, BUT LOOK AT "DEPRESSION INTROSPECTION" FOR A GREAT WOMAN'S POINT OF VIEW ON PHARMA. ALSO LOOK AT THE KAISER WHISTLE BLOWER, AND OF COURSE, YOURS TRULY!

Quite frankly, if I were a breast cancer patient and some cheerful people are handing me flowers and cupcakes on my way out of chemo, I'd be very happy about that (and having had a breast cancer scare in the past, this is not a topic far from my mind at times). I'm also enough of a cynic to understand that the flowers and cupcakes are not being given out just to make me feel happy. I realize that other people might not think the same way, though, and might ask their doctor about treatment with Arimidex even if it's not right for them."

MAYBE YOU WOULD, BUT WHEN IF I WAS LEAVING CHEMO, I BELIEVE I WOULD FIND THE DISPLAY DISTASTEFUL FOR SO MANY REASONS. IF YOU ASK, I WILL BE GLAD TO LIST THEM.

"But I don't think this initiative is truly tacky. Truly tacky is the tale that I heard once of an initiative by a sales representative from a top 10 pharmaceutical company - I am leaving out the company name and the name of the drug to protect the innocent in this admittedly anecdotal tale. If the tale is true (it was passed on to me from someone at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics), then this beats pink cupcakes all out. It seems that the rep went into the doctor's office with a tarp, a beach backdrop, and a sunlamp. She spread sand on the tarp, stripped down to a bikini, and sunbathed. The sign on the backdrop read, "[Our SSRI] is like a day at the beach." Allegedly this was a hit with the doctor, and the rep's idea, published in the department newsletter, got her a nice cash bonus that month."

THIS IS THE TYPE OF STORY THAT TEENAGERS USE WHEN THEY WANT TO JUSTIFY THEIR BAD BEHAVIOR. A SCENARIO MIGHT SOUND JUST LIKE THIS SUB PAR ARGUMENT: "MOM... PETER IS ALSO A BAD BOY, HE DID X, WHICH IS SO MUCH WORSE THAN THE Y I DID, SO PLEASE DON'T GROUND ME.. OR WHATEVER." THIS IS PURE BULLSHIT. JUST BECAUSE A POOR WOMAN WITH NO BOUNDARIES AND AN INTENSE FEAR OF FAILING AT HER HIGHLY INTELLECTUAL DRUG REP JOB, BEARS HER BOOBIES TO SELL MEDICATIONS, DOESN'T MAKE PRETENDING OT BE A PATIENT ORGANIZATION OF MOTHERS, WHEN YOU ARE REALLY A PHARMA COMPANY PROMOTING YOUR MEDICATIONS A FAIR AND ETHICAL MARKETING PRACTICE. FRANKLY IT SHOULD BE BROUGHT UP TO SANCTIONS.

IT IS NOT SO MUCH THE REFINED SUGAR, WHICH WOULD BE UNDESIRABLE FOOD TO PASS OUT FOR HEALTH REASONS ALONE (THINK DIABETES) OR THE FLOWERS, ALTHOUGH, ONE WOULD THINK THAT A LIVE PLANT WOULD BE MORE APPRECIATED THAN A DEAD FLOWER; RATHER IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, THE TACKINESS THING ABOUT THIS MARKETING IDEA GONE WRONG, IS THE MIS-REPRESENTATION OF "MUM" AS AN ORGANIZATION THAT IS NOT REALLY PHARMA, BUT ONE OF CAREGIVERS AND FAMILY MEMBERS. THIS SUBTLE DECEPTION IS WRONG, AND A BIG BANNER SHOULD HAVE TO FLY OVER THE GOODIE TABLE SAYING "AZ SPONSORS... THE MAKERS OF YOUR CHEMO...."

ON THE OTHER HAND, A MORE GENTLER, KINDER AZ MARKETER MIGHT DECIDE THAT A CAMPAIGN WHERE THEY DONATE 1000 TO EACH CHEMO PATIENT'S CHARITY OF CHOICE, OR A FREE MAKE-OVER, OR A FREE WIG CONSULATION, OR A FREE FOOT MASSAGE OR A FREE POPSICLE OR DESIGNER WATER OR JUICE WOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER IN THE LONG RUN.

DO THE MARKETERS REALLY THINK THE CONSUMERS ARE THIS STUPID? I HAVE YET TO MEET ANYONE, OF ANY LEVEL OF EDUCATION, WHO THINKS POSITIVELY OF THE RECENT MARKETING OF THE MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES. THE BLUE PILL, THE GAS, THE DEPRESSION, THE PAIN, THE GIBBERISH ADS, THE ALLERGY ADS, AND MOST OF THE DTC MARKETING IS GOING TO BACKFIRE, I PROMISE. I TALK TO HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE, AND MOST PEOPLE IN CANADA THINK THE ADS ARE MISLEADING AND PEDANTIC, AND APPEAL TO THE MOST VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS, WHO ARE DESPARATELY LOOKING FOR HELP FOR WHAT AILS THEM. TAKING ADVANTAGE LIKE THIS... WELL... IF U ARE GONNA SIN... DO IT IN A BIG WAY...

4 comments:

Chris Truelove said...

I halfway expected someone to take offense at my remarks. Maybe I wouldn't want a cupcake after chemo. Maybe I would. Hopefully I'll never be in a position to find out. At least someone is reading. I do agree with some of what you said, particularly about the use of what seems to be a fake patient group to promote the campaign. The only reference I could find to a "Mums" campaign was a local fund-raising effort by a Rotary Club in Redondo Beach for mammograms. http://www.clubrunner.ca/CPrg/Home/storyitem.asp?cid=2507&iid=19330

I'd seriously like to know where Missy Moran got the idea, so thank you for highlighting this.

The sunbathing rep story was one I wanted to share to show that cupcakes may be tacky, but this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tacky pharma marketing tactics. And forgive me if I gave you offense for overlooking you. The pharma blog world is large and getting larger. It's hard to keep up.

As far as John calling our debate a "True Love kitty fight," I believe I have run into this kind of attitude before, so vividely satirized in this classic Harry Enfield piece:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjxY9rZwNGU

Anonymous said...

I find these ads for drugs to be very confusing. Half the time I can't even tell what the drugs are supposed to do. But that must be what the commercials want, that way you ask your doctor if you need that drug, even if it has nothing to do with your conditions. At least they tell you all those great side effects.

Silver Lining said...

Very well said.

Anonymous said...

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