Archive for March, 2008

Rumors have swirled around Behemoth Pharmaceuticals for months, but a press release has been scheduled for 10 am April 1st to announce the launch of PharmaBoost, a novel new treatment for Pharma Industry Negativity Syndrome (PINS).

“It’s been quite an ordeal getting this drug through FDA approval, and quite frankly, we were on pins and needles throughout,” said a relieved J.P. MacRost, President of Behemoth. “What pushed it over the edge was the incredible uptick in negative and inflammatory reporting about the industry over recent months – the agency finally could no longer deny that PINS is a pervasive and virulent disease.”

pharmaboosted.jpgIn a triple-blind, placebo-controlled and half-decaff clinical study which took place at 200 selected Starbucks outlets nationwide, 45% of those who formerly reported themselves as “mildly disgusted” or “thoroughly enraged” at the industry suddenly reported feeling “downright warm-and-fuzzy” after a shot of PharmaBoost was added to their morning fix by their trusted barista. In addition, 22% described their feelings as “mildly buzzed about pharma” when a venti was downed with a double shot of PharmaBoost. There were scattered reports of customers asking for “statin sprinkles” or “metformin muffins” with their coffee, but this was viewed as a transient side effect.

pharmaboost-1.jpg“These results are startlingly good,” declared Merry Angle, who once wrote a highly critical book about the industry (since retracted and removed from bookstore shelves after an infusion of PharmaBoost was slipped into her Earl Grey tea). “In fact, I’m putting out a series of articles defending the relative costs of sales and marketing expenditures, since this great healthcare system of ours was built on the principle of unbridled promotion and profit-making. Every time I see the price of a prescription nowadays, I think to myself, ‘Wow…what a bargain!’ Now, just thinking about the pharmaceutical industry gives me a high like no other drug I’ve tried!”

pharmaboost-2.jpgPeter Rost, industry gadfly and former blogger/critic, has renamed his blog “Give in to Authority” and now features puff interviews with CEOs of Big Pharma – the very ones he used to criticize in his whistleblower suits. In fact, Rost is now writing a new novel, tentatively titled “Swill yer Drug,” featuring a few surviving characters from his prior book (Killer Drug – now withdrawn from publication), who go about the countryside encouraging everyone to take their meds daily, in deference to the authority of their prescribing physician. “I don’t Question Authority anymore and neither should you!” declared an ebullient Rost, whose change of heart came after sipping a PharmaBoost-laced Red Bull during some boring legislation at which he was an expert witness. “In fact, this stuff makes me feel and look young again – maybe I’ll go back and apply for a Marketing job with one of these great companies again!”

Behemoth plans to launch a new social media site, “The Booster Club,” where pharmaboosters can share upbeat perspectives on the industry and talk appreciatively about their favorite high-level executives. A new ad campaign is also in the works, with huge displays of Big pharmaboost.jpgPharma CEOs flashing up at Times Square, sequenced with the message “What else can $30 million buy you?” as former cheerleaders hand out PharmaBoost samples on the street, and Boosters stroll around with positive and upbeat signs.

PharmaBoost will be available in Regular size tablets for the general public, and Jumbo 12-packs for regulators, reporters, and Congressmen. An ultra-extreme infusion (the “Kennedy”) is currently under discussion with U.S. and European agencies.

Last year’s April 1 post

Other spoofs

(Image credits – ecstatic gal, ecstatic guy)

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Novartis buying up Alcon – Novartis AG has agreed to buy Nestle AG’s 77 percent stake in U.S. company Alcon for $39 billion to boost its eye care business, the Swiss drugmaker said on Monday…more

Schering: the next cut is the deepest – Faced with a crushing blow to its top selling cholesterol medicine, Schering-Plough tonight announced layoffs, plant closings and spending cuts to save $1 billion over the next two years. “No area will be exempt,” Fred Hassan, Schering-Plough’s chairman and CEO, said in a news release…more

Lots of juicy stuff from ACC (American College of Cardiology) this week:

Micardis cuts heart risk – The blood pressure drug Micardis was as effective in preventing serious heart problems in high-risk patients as certain older drugs, but with fewer side effects, international researchers said on Monday. The Boehringer Ingelheim drug Micardis, or telmisartan, is typically used in patients with heart failure, but the study found it worked as well as the ACE inhibitor ramipril, marketed in the United States as Altace by King Pharmaceuticals Inc…more

Diabetes drug Actos arresting heart disease? – The popular diabetes pill Actos prevented the build-up of fatty deposits in heart arteries in a study of patients with type 2 diabetes, U.S. researchers said on Monday. They said the Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd drug Actos, known generically as pioglitazone, is the first diabetes therapy shown to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis…more, and more.

Novartis’ Lotrel very effective at cutting heart risks – Lotrel, a pill combining two blood pressure drugs in one, was so effective at preventing heart attacks and other problems in a clinical trial that the study was stopped early, and its findings may change the way hypertension is treated, U.S. researchers said on Monday…more

Merck’s experimental weight loss drug: effective, some side effects – Obese patients treated with a low dose of Merck & Co Inc’s experimental drug taranabant lost a significant amount of weight, but there were side effects, according to interim results from a pivotal trial released by the company on Monday…more

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A short while ago, someone I respect in the sales training community asked me a question that took me aback for a moment – was it ethical for me to reach out to my community of readers and practitioners for recommendations?

2-way.jpgYou see, a major part of my practice here at Impactiviti is making recommendations – trying to help sales training clients find the best solutions and vendor/partners for their needs (“matchmaking,” if you will). But on a regular basis, I get requests that are outside of my sweet spots of knowledge, in which case I reach out to my inner circle of trainers and vendors for advice and recommendations.

I’m very open about this. My desire is to get the best possible answer for my clients, and part of my research methodology is finding out what YOU think – after all, I can’t know everything and everybody! Since the information exchange is done anonymously (the need is presented with no identifying company information, and the recommendations are presented as coming from others in the field, but without ID), this allows a free and easy exchange of information among all of us.

Now, if I was pretending that all ideas were mine, and was doing no real work except re-packaging other peoples thoughts and presenting them as my own, I’D have ethical problems with that, too! But I put forth a lot of creativity and thought in my consulting work, and I believe that part of the value I bring is the immense power of a living and sharing network.

I enjoy leaning on the expertise of others when it is called for, and many of you quite evidently don’t mind sharing. Which I deeply appreciate (as do the clients who benefit)!

Can a company actually be built, and thrive, on creativity and networking? Well, I’ve bet my professional life on it. And the results speak for themselves. But, as my clients will attest, I also practice full disclosure – my methods are clear for all to see, and I let my clients know plainly about business partnerships wherein I would benefit from specific recommended services (and, many times, I make recommendations where I gain no financial benefit – because the best solution to a need is sometimes not found within my provider network).

So there you have it. Yes, I’m an idealist. Yes, I believe in altruism, and in the power of networking. Yes, I am convinced that honesty and integrity can actually be the foundation of a successful business. When my clients thank me for my advice and recommendations, and my partners gladly take on new work that is right in their “sweet spot,” I am immensely gratified, because everybody wins. As long as we all know how it works, and value is added all around, it’s not only ethical…it’s downright fun!

“I get a tremendous amount of value out of the Impactiviti newsletter and blog, and my personal interactions with Steve Woodruff have always been thought-provoking and helpful. He maintains an extensive network that spans and goes well beyond the pharma sales training community. If you’re not calling on Impactiviti when you have training needs, you should!” Mike Kartman, Senior Manager, Sales Training and Development, Cephalon Oncology

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After Hours 3_29

13 Fabulous Photos of a Rainy Day – tasty pix.

Earth at night – lights from cities, natural gas flares, fishing fleets, and wildfires. Breathtaking!

Are you Conversating?

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Breaking news from the ACC:

Vytorin/Zetia gets panned – shows no benefit on the primary endpoint, though effective in reducing some markers. Doctors now wary and skeptical. Merck and Schering-Plough comment. Good summary with more links from Ed Silverman (Pharmlot blog – one of the best btw!) here.
Prasugrel gets a boost – The investigational antiplatelet drug prasugrel plus aspirin produced a marked and highly statistically significant reduction in the risk of coronary stent thrombosis (ST) – a major concern for physicians and patients with potentially fatal consequences – in patients who received a stent as compared to standard therapy with clopidogrel (Plavix®) plus aspirin (1.13 percent vs. 2.35 percent, p<0.0001), according to a stent analysis from the head-to-head TRITON-TIMI 38 trial…more. And, more here from Pharmalot.

Angiomax: pretty much equivalent to heparin – A study released on Saturday found the two drugs worked about the same in low- to moderate-risk patients in preventing death, heart attack and the need to repeat medical intervention on a diseased blood vessel…more

Positive results for AstraZeneca’s cholesterol-reducer CrestorAstraZeneca Plc is stopping a clinical trial of its blockbuster cholesterol fighter Crestor early because of the clear benefits of the medicine compared to placebo, the company said on Monday…more

——OK, now on to other news:

Free drug samples – higher prescription costs? – Following free drug sample receipt, patients who receive these samples have significantly higher out-of-pocket prescription costs than those who don’t, according to the first study to look at the out-of-pocket cost associated with free-sample use…more

Wyeth cutting 1,200 sales reps – The positions are being eliminated as of Monday as part of a major companywide program announced two months ago to save money in the face of regulatory setbacks and generic competition. At the time, the drugmaker acknowledged plans to cut about 10 percent of its global workforce of 50,000 or so, and that sales reps were high on the list. Wyeth employs roughly 25,000 people in the US…more

Sanofi-Aventis to give daily Cialis a boostSanofi-Aventis of France is partnering with Eli Lilly of America’s heartland to give Lilly’s impotence pill Cialis a boost over here…more

Speaking of Sanofi and Lilly: Lantus shows better efficacy than Humalog – A once-daily injection of Sanofi-Aventis‘s insulin drug Lantus controls blood sugar as effectively as Eli Lilly‘s Humalog, which needs to be taken three times daily, researchers said on Friday…more

Singulair trouble – suicide link? – The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it is investigating a possible link between Merck‘s best-selling Singulair and suicide. FDA said it is reviewing a handful of reports involving mood changes, suicidal behavior and suicide in patients who have taken the popular allergy and asthma drug…more

Takeda drops cholesterol drug candidate lapaquistatTakeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, Japan’s biggest drug maker, on Friday dropped development of a cholesterol-lowering drug candidate that had once been seen as one of its most promising medicines…more

Otsuka pays for fraudulent Abilify marketing Otsuka American Pharmaceutical, the US unit of the Japanese drugmaker, agreed to pay more than $4 million to resolve allegations that it marketed the Abilify antipsychotic for off-label uses…more

Disease-mongering brought to a whole new level (are these people serious)? – Anyone familiar with involuntary emotional expression disorder? This is another way of saying uncontrollable laughing or crying, and a little drugmaker called Avanir Pharmaceuticals hopes to market a pill for this “distinct neurological disorder.” Also known as pseudobulbar affect, the affliction has gotten talked up in recent years and investors are buying into the concept…more

The Vytorin studies – what will be revealed at the ACC meeting? Good news from the Enhance study? And why is the Improve-It study being expanded/delayed? Is it for sound data gathering reasons, or is it a conspiracy?

Physician gifting crackdown? – The latest legislative maneuver to control pharmaceutical marketing: Last week, congressman Pete Defazio (D-OR) introduced the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, a bill that will create a public registry of gifts and payments to physicians in excess of $25 by pharmaceutical companies…more

Lunesta moth flying away.

Did you know there are now 30 job openings listed in the Impactiviti Job Board?

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Big News Coming Early Next Week!

kid_news.jpgCan’t tell you any more now – you’ll have to be on pins and needles for a few more days…

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New Job Postings!

Two new open positions are now up on the Impactiviti Job Board:

    Performance Consultant
    Learning Architect (Pre-Sales)

Go and check them out! These 2 positions are with a training development/consulting company – there are also a number of Sales Trainer positions open with pharma companies.

Other job postings will be added in the next few days!

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marriott-world-2.jpgDid you know that 50% of the 2007 SPBT Annual Conference Attendees were first-timers? This is consistent with the general impression that many people take on a Training role as a building block for career development purposes. And this means that another transition is often on the horizon – from Trainer to District Manager.

For many, a rotation in the sales training department is a step toward field management. If this is in your career plan, you’ll want to start preparing for new challenges ahead…now!

For instance, did you ever consider that the skills and experience that are fostered in a training role are extremely similar to the core competencies needed as an effective DM? Or, that those who move on to district management often believe that they could have learned even more from an additional role in another function before becoming a DM?

At this year’s SPBT conference, Michael Capaldi (Sanofi-Aventis) will be joined by Carol Wells (Genentech), Chris Goins (Wyeth) and David Purdy (Psychological Consultants) for a panel discussion entitled: From Trainer to District Manager – and Beyond (Workshop Period 4, 9:45-11:15). During this workshop the facilitators will discuss the typical path of Trainer to DM and expose participants to other opportunities that this experience can affords them.

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There are 8 new pharmaceutical sales training job openings added to the Impactiviti Job Board. Check it out!

(Current jobs listed are in NJ, Philly area, Long Island, Boston area, SF area, LA area, San Diego, Chicagoland, Georgia, Maryland)

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Have you ever wrestled with the decision about when to outsource a training project or need. And, to whom? And, how to go about it?

marriott-world-orlando.jpgOf course you have. And very few people in sales training positions have been trained in how to go about project definition, vendor selection, writing up RFPs (Request for Proposal), etc.

What is “Right-Sourcing“? In essence, it is selecting the right resources to do the job – some projects can best be accomplished with internal personnel, while many others need to be “outsourced” to vendor/partners. There are at least 10 major categories of training projects/needs that often are outsourced, and 6 key issues that you need to consider in the process (the first is the Goal – what’s the point?).

Once you know you need to outsource a project, how do you go about it? How can you clearly define the project scope, and what are the 4 major elements of an effective RFP?

At the upcoming SPBT conference, I will be co-facilitating a workshop on this topic (along with Angela Nicoletta of Novartis Pharmaceuticals). Join us during Workshop Period 4 (Wednesday, 9:45 am) for a practical and interactive workshop, and be far better equipped to successfully lead projects in your role as a training professional (and beyond). UPDATE – this workshop will also be repeated on Thursday morning!

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