Friday, May 15, 2009


Who says we never say good things about pharma? Actually, the whole point of posts that are critical, at least here, is to support the industry through policy choices that, in the long view, most of us view to be in its interests. Which also means ours.

Many of you will have heard about the Pfizer program extending drug benefits to the unemployed. The details (thanks to our Inspirational Leader) can be found here:

What may be most impressive, but not surprising, is that the idea of the program--as well as half the funding--appears to have come from Pfizer employees. Needless to say, they know what it is to live in uncertainty re: job loss as well as any group. It is an impressive move.

According to the release, the other half comes from the Pfizer Foundation. Yes, this certainly means it will amount to a substantial tax write-off for charitable donation. But that's why we have such incentives. And, yes, it will reinforce "brand loyalty" and is great PR. But loyalty is a virtue when it is deserved.

So it is a good move all around, as far as I am concerned. Let's see more such, and--ideally--more such from the top down as well. That would be terrific.


  1. This is not "on the other hand," but it would be interesting to know what the total costs of this program will actually be.

    There are several limiting conditions, including demonstrable financial hardship (however defined) and having been on a Pfizer rx for at least three months before January of this year.

    As it happens, one of my own rx's would qualify for the three month criterion. But it would not qualify for the program because it was not covered in the first place. Like many others, the formulary of my employer's drug program only covers a generic alternative. I have stayed with the name brand because it does a better job for me.

    Anyway, one example. The wider question is what this program will add up to in terms of numbers of scripts.

  2. Sr. Mary MargaretMay 15, 2009 at 2:58 PM

    God bless them.

    However…I’m having trouble believing that a company with a history of unethical practices and who worked to take away the civil rights of others is saintly.

    Could it be they are recruiting new “customers?” Perhaps drumming up a “fan” base of the currently unemployed that will be forever faithful to their savior, Pfizer?

  3. It makes me think of this little commercial I saw once. Click "Funny" to compare that program with Pfizers (and for a good chuckle too).

  4. Sleeping in My HyundaiMay 15, 2009 at 4:44 PM

    Dear Funny,
    I contracted a terrible disease from having sex for pay and/or from eating road kill in my Hyundai. Does Pfizer have a program that will help?

  5. Dear Sleeping in My Hyundai,

    I contacted Pfizer for you and they tell me that they are currently working on it.

    Their first instinct was to encourage doctors to write off-label Lipitor prescriptions. Making the claim that lower cholesterol will reduce the ability of STDs to survive in the human body. Sadly the FDA was not satisfied with the data.

    Then they said that Neurontin was tested for stomach cramps from the road kill consumption. Neurontin was not found to be capable of curing that pain (either) but you will be able to get a Lyrica prescription for cramping if it lasts for more than 3 days.

    Meanwhile, this situation has presented Pfizer with new and creative ways to improve the look of their lifelin.... ooops... I mean pipeline.

    Best Wishes for a speedy recovery.

  6. If anyone needs a crate of Bextra, I am also ready to give it away free to deserving people.

    It will definitely kill the pain (at a minimum).


  7. U.S. Department of Justice says Wyeth cheated Medicaid...

  8. I think it is noble that employees are kicking in some of their own money. However, I have to ask, are they charging themselves the market price or is it the cost price. I highly doubt it is the market price. Which leads me to conclude that if their own employees and foundation will not pay the "market price", why are they charging the sick and dying the "market price"? If they managed market prices better, they wouldn't have to come up with these "charitable" ideas on how to get more people to take their drug....

    Just do the right thing! Stop the smoke and mirrors!


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