Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Communication Agents Help Turn The Tables On Big Pharma

..."But it was really the internet that allowed public health activists to do an end run around GSK's and the medical authorities' denials of the drug's risks. An explosion of websites dedicated to vivid accounts of antidepressant reactions told these campaigners about hundreds of thousands affected by a problem that officially did not exist.

The internet was 'groaning with evidence'; over time, the 'cover-up became more obvious as the weight of scientific evidence got stronger and public protest grew'. Those are quotations from a magisterial history and analysis of the antidepressant crisis by two leading campaigners, Charles Medawar and Anita Hardon, in Medicines Out of Control?, a new book recommended by The Lancet as essential reading for members of the parliamentary committee examining pharma influence on health policy, whose hearings began last week.

As critical to the pharmas' outing as the raw data on the internet was this medium's capacity for handling complexity - at the speed of firing neurons."...

Like the printed press, and now the net which the vested interests inadvertently let slip, has now become the primary chink in their armour.

This is are our Ace.

We need to exploit it exponentially and move the yard sticks forward.

Robin Good' internet Communication Agents Initiative, of which I am a proud member, is exactly the type of Internet tool that is designed to turn the tables on the vested interests - it is gratifying to see validation on this effort - thus making this whole endeavor worthwhile.

See also: Re: If Content Wants To Be Free, How Can I Be Sustainable Robin?

Big Pharma snared by net
by Cheryll Barron
Sunday September 26, 2004
The Observer

"What if ants could turn the microscopes on the scientists studying them and, after beady-eyed surveillance, demand a revolution in their scrutinisers' accustomed ways?

This is more than a variation on Lilliputians for a new Jonathan Swift to consider; it's a metaphor for a real-life reversal of multinational power that has no precedent.

...What no one foresaw was the shocking extent to which the internet would change the terms of trade between corporations and society.

Certainly not that one of the world's largest drug companies, which is among the richest and most influential industries of all time, would be the first victim of the shift.

...Health campaigners trying to decide what the pharmas could reasonably be blamed for shared vast stores of data about such complexities by - among other means - encyclopaedic technical postings on their websites. Some of these sites also feature open access to years of correspondence between the activists and regulatory officials and pharma executives. Postings like these have allowed rapid international co-ordination between the campaigners.

Pharmas bent on redeeming their reputations have suddenly begun to use the internet to publish what they once fought for the right to conceal. GSK's first notable response to the filing of the recent lawsuit was to start posting both negative and positive findings from drug tests on its web site. But it is far from the only pharma with a history of secretiveness about trials, and at least three of its rivals have copied its turnabout, with Eli Lilly and Merck making the most radical moves towards transparency.

Even top-ranking pharma executives might not yet grasp that this is only the start of a progressive stripping away of power."



Chris Gupta -
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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, September 28 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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