Friday, April 07, 2006

Rost to Roost in Blogosphere

For months I have been receiving "personal emails" from Peter Rost -- Pharma's Black Knight -- informing me of his latest trials and tribulations regarding his whistle-blower case against Pfizer.

Rost has just announced he will write his own blog: "Lot's of people have been writing about me, so I think it's about time for me to start writing on my own."


After receiving all the email from Rost, I am not surprised that he has received comments from people suggesting he begin a blog. "Get a Blog already," I imagine his racketball buddy saying, "and stop sending me tirades by email!" [There are several other people I know who should get a blog already. But that's another story.]


Rost's first foray into blogging is
his piece appearing in The Huffington Post ("The New Robber Barons"). By the look of the number and caliber of comments, he's going to do very well as a blogger (and it doesn't hurt to get previewed in The Huffington Post!).

The first thing that caught my attention -- and which a lot of commenters latched on to -- was how much money Rost claims he made as a VP at Pfizer: "my salary was over half a million"!


Rost compares that with his "severance package", which, he says, is nothing more than unemployment compensation of $13,078 annually. He says, contrary to press reports, he received no golden parachute from Pfizer (the bastards!).

"well well well, how the mighty have fallen...hope they gave you a golden parachute or at least let you keep the Lexus or something LOL..." -- Commenter to Rost's Post
Rost's post to The HP focuses on the excessive compensation of Pharma and other big corporate CEOs. He especially focuses on the "greed" of Fred Hassan, former CEO of Pharmacia, which was acquired by Pfizer:
"Greed is to become CEO for a drug company such as Pfizer, be responsible for a stock price drop of 40% over his five year tenure, twice as much as the AMEX Pharmaceutical Index, secure a $80 million retirement package while firing 16,385 Pharmacia and Pfizer employees, and get a 72% pay increase to $16.6 million as his reward."
Rost's main point? "The American democracy has been stolen by our new class of Robber Barons--the CEO's of our big corporations."

It seems to me that Rost has a personal axe to grind: first, he gets no severance package, second his qui tam case against Pharmacia/Pfizer isn't panning out as he hoped. So, I am not sure how much he really believes what he says or whether it's all a calculated ploy for publicity and grist for his case's mill (ie, stuff he can present as evidence).

"Wow, Peter, I would have been SO impressed if you'd written this piece BEFORE you got fired. Anyway, welcome to the real world." -- Commenter to Rost's Post
That comment is not fair -- Rost was quite outspoken about Pharma's stand on issues like the re-importation of drugs before was fired. At least one commenter pointed this out:
"The comments above are stupid remarks from angry puny morons. So sadly typical of the sleazy Huffington Post slime machine. I am familiar with your efforts and background Dr. Rost, and I thank you for blogging on this site. FYI - "Dr. Rost became well known in 2004 when he became the first drug company executive to speak out in favor of reimportation of drugs."
However, Pfizer firing Rost could help his qui tam case and may have been part of his plan from the start.

Maybe after seeing this post, Rost will stop sending me email. Oh well, my loss. But at least there will be his Blog to fall back on in case I need to know what's going on in his world!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks John for this introduction to my blog. And for giving me the idea to perhaps another blog entry.

    First, please note that it is Hank McKinnell who was CEO when Pfizer stock dropped 40%, not Fred Hassan.

    Second, my point is not that it is bad for anyone to make a lot of money, including myself. It is not, which I pointed out in my blog and referred to Microsoft.

    My problem is when CEO's pay themselves handsomly, in spite of lack of performance.

    Can you imagine any product manager getting a bonus if his sales dropped 40%, the way PFE stock value dropped?

    I can't.

    So was I worth over half a million? Of course I was. You see, I delivered the #1 result within all of Pfizer if you compare U.S. sales vs. budget for my product the year Pfizer took over.

    Regards,
    Peter

    ReplyDelete

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