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Getting thru the thick heads of the left on pharma: a proposal

All you former pharma people out there, do you find it extraordinarily depressing that so many opinion makers on the left have a completely fucked up notion of pharma research?  Are you tired of them making suggestions regarding pharma that are only going to make the problem worse?  Are you sick of being lumped in with the stupid marketing executives and finance industry analysts and consultants when you had no power over what those guys (and it’s almost always guys) did?  Are you enraged that some twit at Harvard is making pronouncements about industrial research, revealing her shocking lack of knowledge and experience, and passing herself off as an authority and obscuring her institution’s potential conflict of interest?

Have you had it with bloggers on the left who refuse to engage with you, seek you out and ask you for your perspective, snub you and tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about after 20 years of experience?  Are you despairing that the besieged industrial pharmaceutical researcher has become as improbably and maliciously fantastical to the left as the black helicopters of the UN have to the right?

Are you proud of what you did in the lab and distressed over how your industry has been destroyed?  Do you want to set the record straight?

Good.  So do I.

I think we need to do a blogtalkradio show explaining what’s really going on in pharma.  Maybe we can explain how the drug discovery process works and how it all went horribly wrong, where we are now and what we see as the future of pharmaceutical medicine in the future.

Reading this shit makes people’s eyes glaze over apparently and they’ve been conditioned to a.) see pharma as more evil than Satan and b.) fail to distinguish between the business and science parts of the industry and c.) do not realize what they’re getting into going forward or that they might be inadvertently playing into the hands of the finance guys.

We could use this opportunity to explain why “me too” drugs get developed, that the pharmas aren’t sitting on a cure for cancer (because that makes no damn sense and we will explain why), that research really is more expensive than drinking gold and why generics are going to get more expensive for everyone.

If you are interested, indicate in the poll below whether you think this would be worthwhile.  We can’t rely on the left to buy a clue.  God knows, I’ve tried and they’re as thick as  right wing creationists when it comes to pharma.  For some really asinine reason, they think we are pro-industry shills.  Yeah, you can stop laughing now.

I’d like to interview some people whose opinions I respect on the subject, like Derek Lowe of In the Pipeline.  I suspect that Lowe and I are very different politically but we’re very simpatico when it comes to our perception on how the industry has been run.  Maybe there are others out there?  Zombie Symmetry?  Anthony Nicholls?  I don’t know who would be willing to step up and tell it like it is.  This wouldn’t have to be a rant against the industry because WE know that the industry consists of TWO separate entities right now and back when it worked reasonably well, the finance part was not in charge.

Or maybe people could call in.  You wouldn’t have to identify yourself.  You could just indicate whether you are/were industry or academic, chemistry or biology, lead ID/Optimization or development.  That should do it.

Are you interested?

26 Responses

  1. Sounds like a good idea to me — I’m not a researcher, but Interested.

    • I think we need a few more voices out there. The more, the merrier.

      • I could start a sister-radio show about how to develop a Health Care Member Owned Coop. I think it would have to begin as a Bill Paying Cooperative (for price negotiation) but plan on growing into something like Kaiser only Member Owned.

        • What the heck is that?? I’m intrigued.

          • It’s a NEW IDEA. And has to be invented. But here are the thoughts on my 3×5 card:

            Healthcare is a universal right.

            Healthcare in the United States as administered by Health Insurance companies and the United States government is randomly and corruptly distributed.

            Non-Profit Health Insurance does not seem able to control costs and access.

            Can a Member Owned (one person one vote) Health Care Cooperative fill the Universal Need that is not being met?

          • There was a NYT article on it from back in 2009 that said it was a good idea but unworkable because for it to work, the cooperative would have to be very big to be able to negotiate prices the way most insurance companies and medicare does.
            Hmmm, I wonder if this is something the Freelancer’s Union could do??

          • Maybe — it seems that it would be easier to start with an existing organization.

          • I’ll have to ask my sis, er, someone I know who is in the health insurance business. Maybe she can be persuaded to make a career change…

          • I think there are any number of models that could work. But, the fundamental thing would be having incorruptible and knowledgeable administrators. It would be marvelous if you sister was interested!

  2. Hey, what do you think about moving to a theme where we can have more than one frontpage story in parallel instead of series? Like a newspaper format.

  3. I have been critical of what I perceive as the undue influence of pharmaceutal financial interests on this country; but I think your program would be helpful to people like me.

    Off topic, the Michigan right to work issue is one we should get up to speed on. Michigan, of all places…

    “Women were in Labor Before Men Were Born”
    Michigan Labor History Society: Take a Walk Down Woodward
    Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit offers visitors an opportunity to learn about major labor history events.
    Starting at Grand Circus Park at Woodward and Adams, and continuing for about a mile south to the riverfront, visitors will walk past historic Central United Methodist Church; the statue of the “idol of the people,” Mayor Hazen Pingree; the site of the 1937 sit-down strike at the old Woolworth’s 5-and-dime; Cadillac Square, which has been the scene of many demonstrations and rallies over the years; and Hart Plaza, at the riverfront, home to the Labor Legacy landmark, “Transcending,” and the Underground Railroad monument.
    A 62-foot-high pair of stainless-steel arcs isurrounded by bronze bas-relief sculptures that tell stories of local labor and social history and that honor working men and women in many different occupations. A raised dais incorporates dozens of quotations from many men and women — including the classic statement by former hotel workers’ president Myra Wolfgang: “Women were in Labor Before Men Were Born.”


    • Just today on the news I heard that the MI legislature has already passed Right To Work. It just needs the RepubliGov’s signature. It has been written with a token amount of money appropriated for something or other . . . as a gimmick to immunise it against a voter inititiative to repeal it. “Appropriations bills” cannot be repealed by direct referendum, you see.

      If the MI legisDemocrats had been thinking ahead, they would have made plans to flee the state and go into untraceable hiding to prevent this from being votable-on in the lame duck. But the MI Dems are either too polite or too dumm. A lot of D voters will keep voting for D surrender monkesy, but some D voters will look for militant aggressionary Class Warfare parties to vote for at the state of MI level.
      Parties which will at least take Class Warfare up to a Repuglan level.

  4. o/t
    Happy Hanukkah to all celebrating the festival of lights! 😉

  5. About approaches to health care, today a public radio show called Day To Day (which has a worthless dogs vomit breakfast website) ran a little section about a gp doctor in Wichita Kansas who tired of dealing with insurance companies and changed his practice around to only take people who could personally pay $50/month for “whatever they might end up needing” in terms of general nonspecialist care . . . tests, exams, basic treatments, etc. The doctor said it is just him, a nurse, an office assistant . . . they all take phone calls, they all help clean up the office/floors/window/everything at the end of the day.
    He only takes 500 patients per year and will see them as often as they need within that year as long as they pay their $50.00/month.
    The newsblatt also discussed Bloomberg News running an article about a multi-site franchise version of that approach operating out of Florida. Doctors charging patients so much per month to be gp seen as often as necessary but rejecting insurance coverage. It seemed like an interesting revolt of certain doctors against the insurance company lampreys attached to their practice up to now.

    • Concierge medicine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concierge_medicine

      Also called boutique med. Been around for some years now.

      • Yes. That term was used in the report. But that had traditionally been cadillac concierge medicine for the classes, at a $30,000/year retainer. What the doctor in Wichita had created was chevrolet concierge medicine for the masses ( well . . . a mass of 500 clients) for $50/month. And that puts it in a whole nother light.

  6. For the vast majority of hardcore anti-pharma people, it’s a little like banging your head against a wall, isn’t it? They are sort of like 9/11 conspiracy theorists, birthers, etc. … there’s just no point in attempting to converse with them. I’m not saying that there aren’t people who can be educated. But there may not be too many.

    Funny thing about the left: They are convinced they have a monopoly on common sense and scientific literacy as they make fun of birthers and creationists. But the truth is, stupidity isn’t partisan, and the left and right simply have different kooky notions. Visit the comment section on any story about marijuana on Huffington Post. People there are convinced marijuana is a miracle cancer cure. If you try to tell them otherwise and provide literature references, they simply call you a “big pharma” shill. People are strange.

    • Miracle cancer cure?? You’ve got to be kidding.
      Recreational fun substance, yes. Cancer cure, um, not that I’m aware of.

    • Soft core pharma-skeptics may be reachable. If they outnumber hard core anti-pharmas by a thousand to one, and you can win over
      one out of ten of them, then you have a hundred soft-core neo-wonovers to every hard-core anti-pharma. Numbers like that may be usefully mobilizable on certain battlefields. (I just made up numbers so simple that even I could follow my own argument).

      I don’t read HuffPost because there are too many good blogs and I can only read a few of them. I have read articles here and there about
      some marijuana-chemicals being suggestively breast-cancer-cell suppressive in some extremely limited lab-confined circumstances. But I can’t remember where I read that.

      • All good points. I don’t know why I bother reading the comments on HP articles really, because they are all so nasty (on both the left and right). Very hateful people there.

      • I get the feeling that “big pharma” is a trigger word for political operatives. It has to be because some of what people think is totally disconnected from the reality of “big pharma”, although there is plenty there to criticize.
        The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that we need to set the record straight for ourselves, for consumers and for the good of the voting public. That shouldn’t be interpreted as being shills of the pharmaceutical industry. In a way, I think the misinformation serves the present crop of executives and financial analysts very well. And that’s part of the problem. It’s all very “watch the ball, don’t watch my hands”.

  7. People like me without their own computers or even reliable computer access to a computer with speakers will not be able to sit and watch a video presentation on pharmaceutical research issues. But we could read articles and webicles about it. I can read something a lot faster than I can listen to something.

    I notice that some blogs group their posts into topic areas. Naked Capitalism, Sic Semper Tyrannis, Rigorous Intuition 2.0, others. I also notice that your bartender Rico appears to be a man of many talents.
    Might one of those talents be the grouping together of blogposts into topic areas with all the relevant topic-area webposts named and linkable under each topic area titile? And might he be able to create a
    Pharma Research and Bussiness topic area title with all relevant webposts grouped under it and linkable? I realize he must be a busy man, but perhaps he could find time at some point to do that very thing? Then such a block of Pharma Research and Bussiness blogposts could be linked to from remote comments on remote blogs.

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