Friday, April 13, 2007

'Round the Sphere: You're Fired!

First, Mike Zubillaga was fired by AZ. Then Don Imus was fired by CBS! Both for saying something stupid! It goes to show that employees everywhere, not just in pharmaceutical companies, do dumb things.

But these incidents are connected in another way: bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere may have played a role in getting these guys fired.

Peter Rost (Question Authority) was quick to take credit for Zube's demise. I don't think anyone in the Pharma Blogosphere would dispute that. See "Peter Rost gets an AstraZeneca employee fired." (Medical Weblog)

But did you know that a famous Pharma Blogosphere blogger may have been partially responsible for the firing of Imus? And who would this blogger be? Why, me, of course! Whaaa?!! you say? It's true.

Read more about this and learn about new blogs on The Pharma Blogosphere blog.


  1. Anonymous11:20 AM


    Your post brings up some very good points this morning however there are issues that are deeper than this.

    As an employee people have to be willing to do what they feel is necessary to ensure good ethical conduct. What this means is that at any moment we, as employees and managers, have to be ready to put principles before our paychecks. There are way too many people out there who may bring up issues only to retreat when challenged because to them their paycheck is more important than ethical behavior.

    Seth Godin recently said that when you have nothing to lose you might make some of your best decisions, I really believe that.

    Where were the people who wanted to speak up when Lilly was making wrong choices on Zyprexa weight gains? Where are the peole who tried to bring the potential CV side effects of Vioxx? These people should be rewarded but more likely that are out of the industry and black listed. Everything is transparent today the sooner that pharma realizes this the better for everyone.

  2. Anonymous11:03 AM

    First, I read your blog daily and love hearing your take on the issues around the sphere. I agree that Zube needed to get the ax, but I don't understand why call for GSK to pull their ads from the Imus show?

    Advertising on a talk show does not mean that your company agrees with what the host is saying.

    Second, The advertisers were aware of the type of show that Don Imus runs when they signed on the dotted line. Lets be honest, this isn't the first time Imus has stuck his foot in his mouth, and I am guessing its not going to be his last.

    I know that you support GSK pulling their adds to align with their young, female target audience, but do you really think it will have any significant effect?

    Basically it comes down to a moral issue. But why just now decide to "do the right thing" and pull advertisments, if GSK knows full and well Imus has been making racist comments for years?

    Isn't it a little late for a moral delima?

    Thanks for always keeping us informed and making us think.

  3. Dear drug watcher,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Pulling the ads by and of itself would have no significant effect. What I was saying that if a press release was added and said what P&G said, it would have gotten GSK more play in the news -- instead, P&G is being cited as the leader (see Ad Age article: Imus Mess Makes Arbiters of Advertisers at

    It's a lesson to the pharmaceutical industry on how it needs to do more to become consumer-centric.

    As far as doing the right thing is concerned, this is a lesson for all advertisers that a tipping point in public opinion can put a crimp in your advertising campaigns. You better be more careful about ad placements going forward!


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