A $100 million lawsuit against Bayer Corp. has yielded e-mails and internal documents that suggest the drug company let marketing and PR concerns trump safety, disregarding disturbing research on the cholesterol drug Baycol before it was pulled off the market because of dozens of deaths. "There have been some deaths related to Baycol. ... So much for keeping this quiet," said one E-mail.
"Charlotte Beers, the former advertising executive who has been in charge of the Bush administration's global campaign to enhance the image of the United States among Muslims, resigned today for what she said were health reasons," reports Steven Weisman. Under Beers' supervision, the U.S. State Department produced videos, pamphlets, booklets and other materials, but her efforts were largely seen as ineffective.
The latest plan from U.S. State Department propagandist Charlotte Beers is a "consumer lifestyle" magazine to be published in Arabic. The magazine "will avoid politics and instead focus on topics of common interest to American and Arab cultures, including education, careers, family, technology, music and health. ... The magazine, according to a State Department official, is meant to foster dialogue with young Arabs and dispel some of the 'misperceptions' they may have about the United States.
"Henkel Consumer Adhesives is working with retailers to ensure there is a plentiful supply of duct tape on their shelves, according to its website," O'Dwyer's PR Daily writes. "The move follows Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's recommendation that Americans stock up on duct tape so they can seal their windows in the event of a biological attack. Cleveland-based Liggett-Stashower PR is pitching the story to national media. ...
"The State Department's public affairs division has gone on the offensive to combat last month's reports that its Shared Values initiative was faltering after the disappearance of its centerpiece, a $15 million advertising campaign," PR Week's Douglas Quenqua writes.
Responding to reports of rising vegetarianism among teenagers, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association "responded to the looming vegetarian crisis by launching a website, Cool 2B Real, in an attempt to link meat consumption with some degree of hipness. The site, which looks like a cross between a Barbie fan page and a Taco Bell ad (beef-filled tacos and gigantic hamburgers dot the screen), extols teenage girls to 'Keep it Real' - 'real' as in a person who eats beef, preferably three or four times a day.
"It's no easy job to save market share for expensive antihypertensive drugs when headlines read 'When Cheaper Is Also Better,'" writes Jeanne Lenzer. A major new study shows that the expensive drugs used to treat hypertension "were no better than a diuretic.
"The U.S. State Department has suspended its ad campaign extolling Muslim life in the U.S., barely a month after propaganda czar Charlotte Beers pitched 'paid media' as the best way to influence the Islamic World," reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. The TV ads were controversial in the countries where they aired, and government-run channels in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan refused to run them. "Islamic opinion is influenced more by what the U.S.
Hoping to create another cash cow like Viagra, the pharmaceutical industry has invented a new disease "female sexual dysfunction." According to journalist Ray Moynihan, industry-funded doctors are circulating a bogus statistic claiming that 43% of women suffer from this condition so they can prescribe drugs to treat it - even though "inhibition of sexual desire is in many situations a healthy and functional response for women faced with stress, tiredness, or threatening patterns of behaviour from their partners." And just to make sure the guys can keep up, one of the doctors is also
"Drug companies and doctors are
fighting a Bush administration plan to restrict gifts and
other rewards that pharmaceutical manufacturers give
doctors and insurers to encourage the prescribing of
particular drugs. ... In contending that the proposed federal code of conduct
would require radical changes, those opposing the change
discuss their tactics with unusual candor and describe
marketing practices that have long been shrouded in
secrecy. Drug makers acknowledged, for example, that they routinely