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So BiDil appears to have failed – putting together 2 cheap generics into one expensive prescription pill just didn’t prove to be a winner for NitroMed.

And, Merck/Schering-Plough just took a very public beating for Vytorin results that were none too keen.

And, for Pfizer, Caduet has been an ongoing disappointment – the 2-in-1 Lipitor/Norvasc combo is efficacious in lowering cholesterol, but not in raising sales.

So is that the end of the combo drug? Hardly! These companies simply did not go far enough. Announcing the next logical advance in combo drugs – Octomed!

Why settle for a mere 2 drugs per pill when you can have 8? New Octomed treats virtually everything that can go wrong with you (except for inflamed appendix and toe fungus – please see label) all in one handy pill.

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Octomed is a combination statin (lowers cholesterol), acid reflux neutralizer (deals with that pesky indigestion), oxycodone (who doesn’t have a little pain now and then?), anti-depressant (if you’re this sick, you’ll need it), anti-leg-twitching stuff (just in case), blood thinner (hey – everybody’s doing it), hallucinogen, and placebo (for general hypochondria).

Doctors everywhere are flocking to Octomed, because it only takes one prescription to address the vast majority of real, imagined, or anticipated medical problems. In fact, many doctors are now just writing 8! on their Rx pad, simplifying the odious task of interpreting scribbles in the pharmacy.

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The unique Octomed pill design is unparalleled in medical history. The multi-faceted pill is square, and its uniquerubiks-octomed.jpg “color-cube” design allows the patient to visualize, if not world peace, at least the fact that he/she is getting a whole bunch of cool medicine in one whopping pill. For maximum psychological effect, physicians can even rotate the pill facets, thereby “optimizing” the treatment for each patient.

It is not recommended that patients “play” with their Octomed, as this may alter the delicate balance of substances carefully stratified in each pill.

In placebo-controlled studies, 15% of patients were actually able to swallow Octomed – most of the others required intubation and emergency surgery. Side effects included choking, bulging eyes, indigestion, and a vague sense of dread that something really bad was going down. All other symptoms and complaints previously described by the patient rapidly paled into insignificance, proving clinical success that was highly significant statistically.

Doctors and HMOs have embraced Octomed as an important way of preserving scarce healthcare resources, as those who are prescribed the treatment tend not to come back again. Ever.

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The Pharma Side
Copyright 2008 Impactiviti LLC

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charlie-weis.jpgIn a surprise move announced today, Behemoth Pharmaceutical has hired Charlie Weis, former Notre Dame football coach, to be CEO.

“We needed some fresh leadership around here, and Charlie Weis, with his background in sports metaphors, seemed like the ideal choice,” stated Frank Gipper, current Chairman of the Board. “When he came and spoke to us about his vision for a winning healthcare company, we just knew that he could come on board and help us execute.”

According to Weis, “It’s a real battle out there, but the Behemoth team is clearly ready to play, and we’re just going to take it one molecule at a time. We’re not going to leave anything in the labs, but we’re going to lace it up and run the best discovery program we can. I’m pumped about our beta blockers, and also that product safety I’ve been hearing about. We might even get a few small-pharma transfers to beef up our offensive pipeline.

“On paper we’re as good as any of the other guys. Right now, it just comes down to blocking and tackling. Or dosing and titrating, or whatever it is we do. We’re going to put on a clinic with our clinical trials and stay focused, remembering that there is no “I” in TEAM.”

Behemoth staffers seemed cautiously excited about Weis, feeling the momentum shift as the home team lined up for the kickoff of the new leadership group. “It’s been a real pressure cooker here, but this was a gutsy hire, and it could mark the turning point for our company,” declared Sam Biotic, VP of Sales. “Some of our mature products are in a fourth-and-long situation, but we’re tossing our old game plan out the window, we’re going to fight it out in the trenches, and we intend to put some market share points up on the board.”

weis-interview.jpgOthers were not impressed. J.P. MacRost, Litigation Consultant and Pharmaceutical Marketing Expert Witness, said, “Hey…I’m supposed to be the big whistleblower around here. Where does this executive jock wannabe get off thinking he can call the shots? Has he ever testified before the Swedish Congress? Besides, he looks like he needs a serious jolt of Alli or something.”

In compensation for Weis, Notre Dame will receive a VP of Finance and a diuretic to be named later.

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The Pharma Side
Copyright 2007 Impactiviti LLC

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In yet another clinical study to show the unique efficacy of Lypitorin, Phizer-Plow has announced the the drug is now approved for use with Post-Transplant Random Ischemic Left Ventricle Bypass Hypercholesterolemified Arterial Malfunction Disorder in New England Syndrome (abbr. Post-Trans NE).

While initially approved for simple elevated cholesterol problems, Lypitorin’s labeling has blossomed in recent years to cover virtually every cardiovascular disease known to man, culminating now in the holy grail, Post-Trans NE.

“We are absolutely delighted!” exulted Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart and first physician to accurately make up diagnose Post-Trans NE. “This terrible disease has afflicted at least 3 generations of one family in Vermont, and after several years of clinical trials, we have shown efficacy in addressing whatever symptom progression this syndrome apparently seems to be connected with. We think.”

exupitor.jpgCurrently approved only for those living in New England with the syndrome, which presents with vague, poorly-defined symptoms of an indefinite etiology, it is believed that Phizer-Plow is aggressively pursuing approval for use in Missouri, the Florida Keys, and possibly northern Saskatchewan, where such symptoms have been reported for at least several months.

Because of the lengthy name and description of the syndrome, and due to the 47 other approved uses for the drug, Phizer-Plow now plans to re-package Lypitorin for sale in expanded pill bottles that can contain the 1,200-word label. The large, blue and white bong-like containers look suspiciously like dispensers for a product recently abandoned by the company, but a Phizer-Plow spokesperson quickly denied the connection, saying that it was only a coincidence that the expanded label happened to fit nicely onto containers shaped just like the 2 million unused Hexubera bongs currently in inventory.

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The Pharma Side
Copyright 2007 Impactiviti LLC

Other spoofs from The Pharma Side

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dco-patient-1.gifIn a stunning move, the AMA Board of Directors has confirmed that it has changed its guidelines, now requiring doctors to consult with their patients before subscribing medicines, reversing the long-standing doctor-patient relationship.

“It was simply a case of surrendering to the inevitable,” stated Rusty Scalpel, MD, current president of the organization. “With so much Direct-to-Consumer advertising, patients now know more than we do about current medications. I mean, who knew about ED until Viagra and its competitors started blanketing the airwaves? Some patient came to me describing a painful 4-hour effect, and I’m like, ‘Huh??'”

“I think it’s a great idea, ” said Frank Lee Clewles, a busy primary care physician in East Blizzard, ND. “I’ve got enough problems keeping up with insurance paperwork and government regulations. Who can stay current with all this medical stuff nowadays? Now, I can just take the time to sit with my patients and ask them about the latest treatments for urinary incontinence or pancreatitis. They’ll even point me to some great websites and we figure out a treatment plan on the spot based on their recommendations!”

From this point forward, when a patient presents with symptoms of a medical problem, doctors will be required to ask what medications the patient thinks will be most appropriate for that issue. A 20-minute loop of the most common DTC ads will play continuously in waiting rooms, to remind patients about treatments for toe fungus, weak streams, painful joints, and other real and imaginary ills. In addition, new doctor office wallpaper is being issued with the names of the 100 most common brand names, so that patients can tell their doctors exactly what they think they need.

Pharmaceutical companies were quick to respond, re-deploying their entire field sales forces as door-to-door salespeople.

(image credit)

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The Pharma Side
Copyright 2007 Impactiviti LLC

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What seemed, at first, to be a terrific marketing idea ended in disaster this week, when, in the dead of night, a life-sized Hexubera “bong” was installed to replace the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

exubera-pisa.JPG“We thought they were just putting up a banner or something,” howled Guido Marchesi, curator of the Pisa site, who thought that a promotional tie-in with another towering design fluke would bring some much-needed new revenue. “Instead, I come this morning and some massive bong has replaced my Tower. Although, I must say, my blood sugar level today seems better.”

According to N. Hale Sulin, Brand Manager for Hexubera, “Perhaps we were a bit over-the-top with this one, but hey, the dimensions were about the same for the Tower and for our delivery mechanism, and no-one can deny that the old relic needed some updating. Why not replace it with a modern example of remarkable design? Plus, we’ve got a few extra of these beasts in inventory – we’re checking with NASA now about first stage rocket needs.”

Local residents displayed a mixture of curiosity and outrage, some of them attempting to scale the massive bong in order to activate its insulin spray. After a few successes, a curious layer of snowy material covered the site, leading to a world-first insulin snowball-throwing contest.

“Wait ’til you see what the Lipitor brand manager has in mind for the LaBrea tar pits,” hinted Sulin. “We’ll be taking on that sticky cholesterol stuff once and for all…”

(credit to Pharma Giles for the idea on take-offs of the Exubera bong…)

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The Pharma Side
Copyright 2007 Impactiviti LLC

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In a creative new move to increase market share, Behemouth Pharmaceuticals has switched from the practice of having sales reps leave drug samples, instead having them leave samples of communicable diseases.

“Look, we’ve taken a lot of flak over this practice of leaving drug samples, you know what I’m saying?” said J.P. MacRost, President and CEO of Behemouth. “People think we’re manipulating the healthcare marketplace, and besides, it hasn’t effectively increased market share. But at a recent executive retreat, it came to us in a flash of insight – what better way to increase the market for our drugs than to increase the number of diseased patients?”

Petri dishes containing an assortment of germs, bacteria, and proprietary “disease accelerant” substances are being left near ventilation openings in exam rooms throughout the United States. The selected pathogens are specifically configured to help trigger disease states addressed by Behemouth products. The branded petri dishes, once used, can then be used as very nice coffee cup holders on desks, prominently displaying the Behemouth logo and tagline, “Dishing it out for your patients!”

A sampling of independent healthcare professionals specially chosen by Behemouth for further comment seemed to give the new program a very positive ‘two thumbs up.’ “Our sample closet was getting a little crowded anyway, and we had more cures than we had diseases in this office. Now, with the Progressive Petri Program, we know exactly what diseases we’re going to be treating, and just what products to use for the set of maladies that have been assigned to us that we are seeing a lot of,” declared Dr. Fatladie Singh, of East Moline, IL.

Patient groups were outraged. Wynne E. Wigglesworth, spokesperson for The American Society of Outraged Patients (ASOP), declared “We’re outraged! This is outrageous behavior by these irresponsible drug companies. It will lead to further outrages, like leaving plague-infested pens in hospitals, or sprinkling E. Coli on waiting room chairs. The next time I see one of those Ken or Barbie doppelgangers in my doctor’s office, I’m going to pour forth my outrage all over their carefully-coiffed heads. Unless I get a nice mug or calendar out of it, of course.”

According to industry blog DrugWinks, this approach, while yet unproven, may be just what the doctor ordered for helping pharmaceutical companies reach their financial goals. “People have been hitting us for years on the supply-demand side – too many sales reps for the same amount of doctors, etc., etc….you know the drill. With the disease sampling approach, we can now even out supply and demand quite nicely – however much of a drug is in inventory at any given time, the number of afflicted patients can be ratcheted up to even things out. It’s capitalism at its finest.”

Thus far, very few physicians have been willing to take on the leprosy samples or the flesh-eating bacteria being offered by Behemouth’s Pfatal Pharma division; however, a few educational programs in Bermuda along with some very nice engraved rosewood pens may create an uptick despite concerns expressed by skittish office employees.

(Image credit)

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The Pharma Side
Copyright 2007 Impactiviti LLC

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In a surprise portent of things to come, the FDA has issued its first “blue box promo” of a pharmaceutical product.

New FDA Commissioner John Paprika, who gained fame for heading up highly successful promotional efforts at Proctor and Gamble, has instituted a new system based on his prior brand-building experience as CEO of a consumer goods company.

“People are getting tired of these negative ‘black box’ warnings,” Paprika declared, referring to the the FDA’s practice of putting stark warnings on drug labeling surrounded by intimidating black boxes. “Sure, occasionally we have to give some warnings, but net-net, the ones taking these meds are consumers, and when there’s something good out there, we should not hesitate to promote it. The blue box program is designed to differentiate those brands that we think should get greater market share.”

lunambezem-sm.jpgThe first beneficiary of this startling new policy is Lunambezem, a sleep-promoting drug manufactured by the newly formed company Santakacor (formed in a merger of Sanofi-Aventis, Takeda, and Sepracor). Roused from his daily nap for comment was Mr. J.P. MacRost, Senior Product Manager for the Sleep division:

“All three companies had sleep products, so we just mashed together Ambien, Lunesta, and Rozerem in a huge vat, tossed in some food coloring, and out came this pill with all the best qualities. Apparently the FDA thinks so too, and we are honored to have received the first blue box promo for our PI. If your dreams miss you now, you simply have to swap out your Provigil for a few Lunambezems, and you’ll be playing Texas hold-’em with Abe in no time.”

Other pharma companies howled in protest, while also rushing their products into the new expedited “blue review” process. Medimmune hopes to get a blue banner for FluMist claiming, “A snort away from fewer sniffles!” while Roche Oncology is seeking to splash “Now binding to 22% more HER2 receptors!” across its Herceptin PI.

Asked about the future of Lunambezem, MacRost mentioned that the FDA is encouraging line extensions for sleepers with oily hair, and he hinted at possible new formulations for patients with dry skin or stout thighs. Those would receive the new “cerulean box” promos soon to be announced by the FDA.

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The Pharma Side
Copyright 2007 Impactiviti LLC

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