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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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« Something From Nothing | Main | CMPI Conference: Panel on the Politics of Drug Evaluation »

February 21, 2007

CMPI Conference: Panel on Media Coverage

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Posted by Derek

Well, I'm sitting in the audience now at the CMPI conference. My panel was the first of the day, and was pretty lively. Moderated by Rob Pollock of the Wall Street Journal, it featured Ed Silverman of the Newark Star-Ledger (and now of the very useful Pharmalot, Paul Coplan (who does risk managment at Wyeth), Tim Hunt (public affairs at Biogen-Idec), and Paul Seligman (safety policy at the FDA), and Diedtra Henderson of the Boston Globe.

Vioxx was a big point of discussion, as an example of media reporting on medical and pharma issues. There was a noticeable split between the reporters on the panel and the pharma people on this - the discussion was civil, but you could see the differences in opinion on how well the issue had been covered. With Biogen represented, the Tysabri withdrawal (and return) was also a big topic.

I suppose the main point I'd make in reference to that split came when Ed Silverman mentioned that a good thing that came out of the Vioxx coverage was that it started debate, and that that was always a good thing. I agreed with him, up to a point, adding, though, that I thought that informed debate was more useful. My problem with much of the Vioxx coverage was (as I said about that Michael Crichton op-ed the other day) that it made people feel as if they'd been informed when they hadn't been.

There was general agreement that risk/reward (especially absolute risk versus relative risk) was a key concept in reporting these things, but that it could be difficult to get across to a general readership. The other agreement was the companies should try to be as open as possible about clinical data and adverse events, with (naturally) different ideas about where the cutoff of possibility would fall.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Current Events | Press Coverage


1. kronkite on July 15, 2008 10:28 AM writes...

I just read the official stance of the CMPI and govt's involvement in health care.

We are the only country not dirt poor that does not have health care for it's people. Yes there are horror stories in all countries about health care; even this one. We have a high infant mortality rate and our life expectancy is at least 4 years lower than Spain for example.

The amount of people without insurance here is staggering. It affects the way people do business. How can one afford to start their own company if they cannot get health insurance?

Why do we pay higher costs for our drugs than Canada or Mexico and it be illegal to buy drugs from them.

Is no health care better than waiting on health care?

If the American people were educated and better informed these questions would of been addressed many years ago.

Is paying for war and killing people better than paying for the elderly and sick who have no insurance. What about our standard of living conditions? Why do old people have no insurance when they need it and have it when they are young?

The system is rigged against the people who voted the current administration of puppets into office.

Wise up people.


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