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June 11, 2004
The Agents Report Back
Now that ASCO's wrapped up (and the American Diabetes Association meeting as well) every attendee from the drug industry has gone back to report on the news: copies of poster presentations, handwritten notes from the talks, and (most importantly) information that was only given verbally. That would be in answers to questions after a talk, in conversation around a poster, or in small gatherings all over the place.
That sort of stuff is often the real gold from a large meeting. No one is going to spill anything vital, but you can often learn more than is strictly contained in the official presentations, and everything helps. The drug industry being what it is, we have plenty of things we'd like to know about what the competition is up to: Are they still interested in compound X? Have they moved on to another one? What's better about it? Is that side effect something that's showing up in the whole class of compounds? How did they ever dose that stuff at those levels, anyway? Are they in Phase II? In what sort of patients?
It's a well-known psychological effect in the business that we treat new information as something that's just happened. But you have to keep in mind that the information in these meeting presentations is at best several months old, and maybe older than that. (At least it's better than getting excited about a paper that's just shown up in the literature.) That's another reason for all the one-on-one questioning, naturally - we want to know, for once, what's happening right now.
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