The public relations minefield that is Big Pharma

When I used to teach public relations classes on things like Reputation Management or Crisis Communications, I taught the old PR maxim about “depositing in the bank of goodwill” out there.  Simply put, the better you or your organization are at honourable citizenship on a day-to-day basis, the more public goodwill you’ll build up in this account, and the more others will be wiling to trust you.

And vice versa: the more slimy your ongoing behaviour, the less you can realistically expect anybody to trust you. Yes, even when you are telling the truth.

The good news is that, when your balance in the bank of goodwill is healthy, your chances of that trust remaining stable even if you do something bad are improved.  So if you should need to make a “withdrawal” one day when a crisis hits, you’ll have the social capital of public trust nicely tucked away in that bank.

It’s also why Phillip Ball – the London-based science journalist, former editor of Nature, and the author of Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything – is taking aim at Big Pharma, and particularly at British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Continue reading

Big Pharma targets Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

According to a recent study in The American Journal of Managed Care, nearly 97% of Nurse Practitioners (NPs) now prescribe medications, and each one of these writes, on average, between 19-25 prescriptions each day.  That’s about 6,200 prescriptions per NP prescriber per year. In addition, Physician Assistants (PAs) are writing more than 250,000,000 prescriptions each year.In total, these health care providers are responsible for a significant whack of drug prescriptions each year.

That’s why organizers of the annual Maximizing Relationships with Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Summit provide a platform for the pharmaceutical industry to build cozy relationships with all of these NPs & PAs. Here’s what the summit’s pitch promised:  Continue reading

“Heads they win, tails we lose”: the corruption of science

It’s 2003. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry accepts a $1 million donation from Coca-Cola. That same year, the group announces  that scientific evidence is certainly not clear on the exact role that soft drinks play in terms of children’s oral disease.”  This statement, according to a report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, directly contradicts the AAPD’s previous stance: Consumption of sugars in any beverage can be a significant factor that contributes to the initiation and progression of dental caries.”

Yes, I guess it could be purely coincidental that the AAPD decided to contradict what every parent with even a tiny shred of common sense already knows – at the very same time they’ve just inked the $1 million Coca-Cola deal.

But really? Seriously?  Continue reading