Saturday, October 29, 2005

Novel Advertising

HEALTH CARE -- PhRMA COMES UP WITH A NEW SCARE TACTIC: For years, PhRMA has lobbied Congress to deny Americans access to discounted prescription drugs from Canada "by warning that terrorists might poison the imports." These efforts weren't enough for PhRMA, which came up with a new idea to scare Americans away from Canada: a fictional thriller novel about "a group of shadowy terrorists conspires to murder thousands of Americans by poisoning the medicine they're importing from Canada to beat U.S. drug prices." A PhRMA marketing executive then became "intimately involved" in monitoring the book's progress, much to the frustration of the publishing company. "She demanded that the terrorists be militant Muslims but that their motivation be greed, not politics. She insisted on lots of 'frilly female stuff...Harlequin Romance stuff,'" said Kenin Spivak, who helped write the book. But in July, PhRMA suddenly informed the writers that the company "didn't like the book and was pulling out. [Spivak said] the group offered them $100,000 if they would agree never to speak ill of PhRMA or the drug industry for the rest of their lives. They refused." Check your bookstores for "The Karasik Conspiracy," which will be out in December.