Saturday, January 19, 2008

Different Views of Pharma and its Critics

Last week, I posted this view of the pharmaceutical industry vs. its critics over at Pharma Blogosphere:

I called it "Rope-a-Dope-a-Pharma" primarily because I thought the industry played right into the hands of its critics through a series of blunders, which I summarized as rounds in a fight:
Round 1: Lipitor's Jarvik is outed
Round 2: Vytorin Trial Ends In Failure - Patients Left Out in Cold
Round 3: Congress Investigates Vytorin Ads
Round 4: Congress To Probe Vytorin Insider Stock Sales
Round 5: Study Says Patients, Doctors Get Distorted View of Antidepressants
Round 6: FDA Won't be Previewing TV DTC Ads!
Round 7: Taking Statins no Better Than Betting the Lottery!
Announcer: "Big Pharma is reeling! Is this the final round? There are deep cuts over both Big Pharma's eyes (R&D and Marketing)! How much more pummeling can it take? Is this fight over?"
Proving that great minds think alike -- in a Bizarro-World kind of way -- I noticed that my January issue of Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine featured a story where Little Red Riding Hood (representing Big Pharma) is at the mercy of Wolves (representing regulators, whistle blowers, physicians, prosecutors, politicians, and media). Here's PE's image of what it calls the "Year of the Wolves":

I will contend that my image is much more accurate for several reasons:
  1. It does not depict Big Pharma as some weak, innocent lamb bringing the goodies to granny,
  2. on the contrary, it depicts pharma as a strong opponent making a tactical blunder, and
  3. I include me and you (ie, consumers and patients) among the anti-pharma combatants, whereas those groups are not among PE's wolves.
In so far as PE Magazine is the mouthpiece of the pharmaceutical industry, its depiction of the industry's predicament illustrates yet again that it has no clue how to manage the crisis. If it sees its adversaries as wolves then all its options are limited to kill or be killed.

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