Bob Ehrlich, in his weekly DTC in Perspective “e-Column” entitled “Beware of Objectivity,” covered the topic of objectivity in pharmaceutical-land in his uniquely non-objective fashion. Of course, he admits he himself is non-objective. BTW, you may be able to find his remarks here, although it may take awhile for Bob’s Web folks to update this page.
Bob talks about the non-objectivity of pharma industry folks, the press, physicians, and himself; but he devotes the most space to bloggers. Here’s what Bob says about bloggers:
“Bloggers always have some strong point of view, frequently angry and antagonistic. They usually do not like the drug industry because they are ex-employees with some complaints of unlawful activity, health practitioner critics of drug companies, or marketing “gurus” who feel qualified to critique DTC marketing practices. They also frequently represent some new media vehicle and bemoan the fact that the drug industry still uses mass television and print as their main media. “Bloggers are good at making you believe they are heroic in their mission to protect the public. But check behind most blogs and there is a hidden agenda related to fame seeking, product selling, whistle blowing, or revenge. There is nothing wrong with any of those motives as long as the reader recognizes the reason behind the blog. Unfortunately many bloggers will not disclose their affiliations, biases or even their name.”So next time you hear or read someone who says they are telling an objective story on the drug industry, ask what lies beneath. It is rarely objectivity and those who can admit their slant have more credibility than ‘heroes’ with a hidden agenda.”
Thanks Bob, for you vote of confidence in my credibility.
For those of you who don’t read my Pharma Blogosphere Blog, let me quote from a recent post I made there on the topic of objectivity (I think this was Bob’s inspiration for his piece):
Don’t Confuse Blogging with Journalism
… Blogging is everything that journalism is not and more so. What blogger wants to be “fair”? What does that mean, anyway? … BTW, I started my blog primarily to present my biased view, which is, by definition, unfair! Live with it!
Bob mentions hidden agendas and freely exposes his: “without the health of DTC advertising my business would not exist. I feel I can be fair, albeit subjective, since I support the right of drug companies to do DTC as it currently exists.”
It’s OK to have a hidden agenda:
He who is without a hidden agenda, let him cast the first stone!
— John (Mack) 07:13:07
I think what Bob is saying is to look out for bloggers who claim to be objective, but who have hidden agendas.
Since I do not claim to be objective, this maxim does not apply to me. Still, what’s my “agenda”? Is it hidden?
I don’t think so. I have often made my agenda plain and have done so recently: see “The Drug Industry Needs Constructive Criticism, Not Pugilistic Put Downs.” That is the best expression of my mission if not my “agenda.”
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