About this Author
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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January 31, 2012

The Future of Pharma? Yikes.

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Posted by Derek

Someone has been soaking up the atmosphere at a large pharma company, for sure. "Look, I'm a chemist. I thought you hired me to do chemistry. But so far, all I've heard is gibberish. . .don't you do chemistry here?".

Some of you may enjoy that, but for others, it might just be a bit too realistic to be amusing. . .

The same user has several other videos on YouTube, such as this one, which (in addition to a few four-letter words), features the phrase "Get off the Kool-Aid!" Clearly someone needs to go through some more training. (Thanks to Pharmalot for the original link).

Comments (23) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Life in the Drug Labs


1. Chemjobber on January 31, 2012 10:27 AM writes...

You're not talking like a team player, Derek.

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2. PharmaHeretic on January 31, 2012 10:42 AM writes...

Isn't what those clips parody your average best-case scenario? The reality is far worse..

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3. Jon on January 31, 2012 11:36 AM writes...

Well, it could be worse. She could sound like GlaDOS. Though I'm a bit surprised no company hasn't adopted "Thank you for helping us help you help us all" as a slogan yet.

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4. Yancey Ward on January 31, 2012 11:44 AM writes...

Even almost 3 years removed from the industry, that still brought tears of laughter to my eyes.

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5. Anonymous on January 31, 2012 12:30 PM writes...

The office furniture company I work for is just like that. It's Pareto this and Shingo that, plus they didn't stop at 5S but went for 6S. Rapid Continuous Improvement has a department of their own. it's like a battle of the MBA buzz words.
I stay cheerful, on the theory that if I don't laugh, I'll have to cry...

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6. anon the II on January 31, 2012 12:56 PM writes...

It's not funny. These people are real. I met some in Indianapolis.

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7. See Arr Oh on January 31, 2012 1:35 PM writes...

I'm pretty sure I went to grad school with that guy in the video. Didn't we learn anything in graduate school?

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8. DrSnowboard on January 31, 2012 2:19 PM writes...

"I don't want Rick's grubby hands on my Erlenmeyer, thank you" 5S one.
And the swearing is entirely justified..

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9. pete on January 31, 2012 2:52 PM writes...

As he lay dying, the word formed on his lips.


There was a murmur in the crowd.

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10. Todd on January 31, 2012 5:52 PM writes...

Six Sigma overkill FTW!

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11. Path on January 31, 2012 6:13 PM writes...

Thanks for this, made my day, easier to laugh after leaving the boat though...

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12. non-pharma chemist on January 31, 2012 6:29 PM writes...

My new hero.

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13. ZombieSymmetry on January 31, 2012 8:24 PM writes...

LOL! I'm glad my videos are providing some entertainment!

I was talking to a guy I know and mentioned I couldn't figure out why my videos are suddenly getting a lot of hits. He told me to Google "in the pipeline". :-)

I actually have a backlog of new videos. I hope you guys enjoy those as well!

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14. Sir Anon Y. Mous, Peeh.D, 1-6 Sigma belts on January 31, 2012 9:09 PM writes...

Was this video funded by a classy big pharma in the Hoosier state?

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15. Michael Corleone on January 31, 2012 9:27 PM writes...


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16. MoMo on January 31, 2012 11:02 PM writes...

"Is it lunchtime yet? Now you are talking like a team player!"

Sounds like all the Big Pharma guys I hired a decade ago.

This has been going on for decades except now the work is being done overseas, that's all.

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17. MoMo on January 31, 2012 11:06 PM writes...

Yo Zombie! You are a genius! Do one on chemical safety and environmental policies in Chinese pharmaceutical companies!

It'll be a Knee-Slapper!

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18. Anon on February 1, 2012 1:18 AM writes...

This stuff is sadly true. Bull****t, brainlessness and an HR bimbo.

Oh, by the way, from another blog: team player = person who is silent, or silenced, or a co-conspirator regarding managerial mediocrity, malfeasance, or madness.

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19. Anon on February 3, 2012 4:56 PM writes...

This is good too, a look back at the good old days of doing pharma.

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20. newnickanme on February 5, 2012 6:46 PM writes...

I know that xtranormal mispronounces some things ("ideate"). Then again, so did the MBAs at the places I've been. They couldn't pronounce "acetyl" or "peptidomimetic" close enough to save their own life but they could sure pronounce the names of imported wines well enough to rack up huge dinner tabs while performing "due diligence" with investors.

But I cannot figure out "kayson event". What are they saying and what is it? K-sine Event? Casing Event? Kayson (the economist) Event? And the caissons go rolling along? And the Kayson Events go rolling along?

Help! Thank you.

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21. ex-Pfizerite on February 6, 2012 1:02 AM writes...

A kaizen event is an intense 3-5 day effort to overcome some problem or obstacle within a company or process.

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22. newnickname on February 6, 2012 2:59 PM writes...

Aha! Japanese "kaizen": ky rhymes with eye, zen rhymes with zen, not kay rhymes with day zen! Kai Zen event. Got it. THANK YOU!

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23. ZombieSymmetry on February 7, 2012 12:04 AM writes...

In response to the last three comments above: It is Hell to get the characters to pronounce "kaizen". Not only that, they all pronounce it differently. The "Bob" character in "The Matrix Box" does a fairly reasonable job.

I've been playing with various spelling variants (e.g. "kyzahn") but I really haven't hit on a spelling that does the word justice.

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