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December 01, 2004

Will the 100 Bn $ Merck Brand Survive? 

This just in from our World Health Care Game

CARD 1: Regulator Murk or Transparency
This google connecting America's Federal Drug Authority , Pharma Manufacturer Merck and their withdrawn drug Vioxx is worth continuous monitoring.

Vioxx has been withdrawn as unsafe after analysis by FDA employee David Graham showed this arthitis drug is associated with more cases of heart attach and stroke than other products such as celebrex or ibuprofen

Merck's value has lost nearly 40% from 100 billion to 60 billion in the quarter end Sept to end November 2004. If the company is ever shown to have continued profiting from the drug after knowing of its defect, the company risks losing all as lawyers' cliams surround it.

Its too early to call what the lessons are. But the FDA is criticising Graham for publishing his results too fast even though the abstract on his analysis submitted February 04 wasnt presented as a paper to Aug 04. The FDA's behaviour is an indication that it is trying to help Merck moderate its crisis and not simply looking after the health of the public. You may feel that in the absence of the resignation of the head of the FDA, other countries drug regulators should note that the FDA has conflicted interests and not assume that what the FDA passes is a green light the world's people can rely on. You may also wonder whether Drug companies 10 years ago might have had more staff continuously monitoring a drug's track record. We wholly accept that there is no clinical trial process that can guarantee that a drug has no long-term consequences ; and where patients are desperate for a cure, it is reasonable that they have access to experimental drugs as long as these are still being monitored and everyone's best judgements are used when undexpected data comes in.

When brand transparency's day of reckoning comes- which sector's disrepute of marketing will be judged to have killed the most people?


Petroleum is already talked about as the new tobacco. For at least a decade it has obfuscated about the inconvenientt truth of global warming when what the world's free markets needed was to innovate a new energy source - a clean one such as photosynthesis/solar which doctors of biology have assured me for 20 years is well within man's competence to develop. Bravo Gore for training 1000 people in Nasvile on how to network inconvenient truth slides www. Thank heavens too that Branson has stepped up to the plate with 3 billion $ to challenge global warming; in his hands we can expect 10 fold publicity for humanity's buck.

P or P
But the world's most disgraceful global market perfomance of the last decade may yet be a close race. Yesterday's Guardian spilt the beans on how disgraceful big pharma's marketing strategists have become. They ignore product solutions that only the poor like those millions killed by black fever need. Please note they have invented the solutions, patented them but decided there is no profitable market for them- so buried them an the millions who could have been saved if they had opened up knowledge and licence of the product. Pharma yoursecret is ot and a force (Gates Foundation) with more billions than you is ready to make sure 6 billion people know of your badwill. Your last chance to restore your reputaton is for all you big pharma'so come to the table and promise never to do this again.

The message seems clear.Marketing societies should throw out all marketers to do with pharma and petrochemicals for bringing marketing into disrepute. When did either of you wholly care about life? (the number 1 customer need in every market I have ever researched)

Pharma - Why not contact us at if you are willing to come to an off the record roundtable to debate how to resurrect your transparency; the alternative is to be exposed by world service public broadcasters as the last decade's careless merchants of black death  
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