Once upon a time, the beleaguered Brussels-based chemical industry giant called Solvay was sick and tired of all those big, bad environmentalists saying mean things about them. They didn’t like scientists criticizing what they were doing to the air, earth and water near their European chemical, plastics and pharmaceutical plants.
So Solvay set up their own agency called the GreenFacts Foundation to counter these mean things with some made-up nice things about the company. GreenFacts became what the Center for Media and Democracy described at the time as afront group.
As one who has written countless press releases during the decades I worked in public relations, I just love picking through other people’s press releases now. I can smell a spin a mile away, and I’m always curious about translating the spin back into The Truth when corporations attempt to communicate with the media.
That’s why I laughed right out loud (giving Lily the Lap-Napping Cat a severe fright) when I read Pfizer Inc.’s recent press release about their rosy future ahead partnered with their new BFF, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Buried in the depths of this rambling release (and didn’t their Communications staff learn in PR school to keep these bloody things to one page max?) is the news that Pfizer has just formed something called an “Executive Compliance Committee”.
Let’s explore what this means. Pfizer, the world’s biggest drug company, has been in the news lately because of what investigative journalist Ed Silvermanon his always-intriguing Pharmalot website describes in this fashion:
“This innovative notion comes hard on the news that Pfizer paid a record-setting, ground-breaking, chair-swiveling, eye-rolling, jaw-dropping, $2.3 billion fine for illegally marketing several drugs, including Bextra, Zyvox, Geodon and Lyrica, over several years – even as other corporate integrity agreements were already in force.”