“Dear friends, employees, and pharma aficionados…”

That’s how Stacy Burch, Director, Corporate Reputation and Digital Communications, at Sanofi US, began the first post to her company’s new blog Speaking of Sanofi (read “Speaking of Blogs…”; here ).

“pharma aficionado” – I like the sound of that, so I created a new fake magazine with that as the title. The cover of the first issue is shown on the left.

According to Google — which now offers definitions when you search on words like “aficionado” — the word “aficionado” means “A person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime.” Synonyms, according to Google, include “fan – devotee – lover.”

Perhaps “fan – devotee – lover” is a bridge too far for me, but I am certainly somewhat knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the pharmaceutical industry, at least to the extent that I will read and make comments to blogs like Speaking of Sanofi.

I remember the good old days when a pharmaceutical blog was a big deal. Now, however, it is quite common. Of course, blogs about specific pharmaceutical products are rare because the industry still doesn’t want to talk about their products in “open” forums such as blogs.

Speaking of Sanofi is not really an open forum — to submit a comment, you must first register, then sign in, then decode a captcha (very tough!)… And then your comment goes into a moderation queue.

I understand the need for comment moderation — I have moderated comments submitted to this blog for many years. But I have discovered that registration, captchas, and moderation are significant road blocks for discussions on blogs. Therefore, I have turned all that off on this blog.

Luckily, I am not a regulated pharma company. I’m just a “pharma aficionado,” free to relax with a fine imported pill and devote a lot of time learning more about the drug industry.