Pharma bloggers collect their first heads at AZ

Share this article:
Mike Zubillaga is no Dan Rather or Don Imus, but like them, he knows the detrimental impact a band of hostile bloggers can have on one’s job security.

Zubillaga, a regional sales director for oncology at AstraZeneca, became the subject of a “blogswarm” when Pfizer marketer-come-blogger Peter Rost posted an excerpt from an AstraZeneca internal newsletter in which Zubillaga compared performance bonuses to “a big bucket of money sitting in every [doctor’s] office.” Zubillaga also hinted that the company might promote Arimidex against Novartis’ Femara, which would represent a potential violation of AstraZeneca’s 2003 Corporate Integrity Agreement.

Other blogs, like BrandWeek’s BrandWeekNRx and The Star-Ledger’s Pharmalot, picked up the item. When Zubillaga was fired the next day, it was reported in The Philadelphia Inquirer

The news, along with further allegations from Rost’s sources, a group of AstraZeneca employees calling themselves the “Gang of 7,” prompted Rep. Pete Stark to demand an OIG investigation.
 
“Unlike the old news cycle, which had a beginning, middle and end, the online media influence cycle is ongoing,” said Peter Pitts of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. “It never sleeps, and rather than burning out, as in olden days, it keeps going, changing form as it progresses. So there’s a need for both constant vigilance and increased engagement, because if you do not act aggressively to influence the information, you have no control.”
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.

Email Newsletters

MM&M EBOOK: PATIENT ACCESS

Patient access to pharmaceuticals is a tale of two worlds—affordability has improved for the majority, while the minority is hampered by cost, distribution and red tape. To provide marketers with a well-rounded perspective, MM&M presents this e-book chock full of key insights. Click here to access it.

More in Channel

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, September 15

Five things for pharma marketers to know: ...

Pharma has sought 76 meetings with FDA over biosimilars; Gilead licenses Sovaldi to India generic drugmakers; Pfizer and Ranbaxy Lipitor lawsuit dismissed.

Liraglutide, aiming for new indication, gets new name

Liraglutide, aiming for new indication, gets new name

Why Novo Nordisk is choosing not to leverage Victoza's brand equity as it seeks a weight-loss indication for liraglutide.

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, September 12

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, ...

An FDA panel voted in favor of liraglutide for weight loss; Allergan investors backing an attempted takeover of the firm crossed a critical threshold; and 100 million health wearables are ...