According to the Globe, here are the issues in the dispute about Finneran's tenure on the Biotechnology Council,
The debate over Finneran highlights a division in the state biotechnology industry. On one side stand a handful of large companies with products on the market and frequent business before Congress, which can influence drug regulation and pricing. On the other side are the hundreds of smaller companies, most without profits or approved products, which rely on the council for purchasing discounts, networking, and support for state-level issues such as zoning and research grants.
Executives of the smaller companies say that biotechnology values its reputation as a clean, research-driven industry, and are concerned that Finneran's felony could stain that image.
But large pharmaceutical companies, which need Congress to reauthorize key legislation on prescription-drug approvals this year, are concerned about alienating Finneran's friends in the Legislature and on Capitol Hill.
Of the 21 members on the council's board, four represent major pharmaceutical companies: Pfizer Inc., Novartis AG, Wyeth, and AstraZeneca. Representatives of those companies either could not be reached or would not comment on their votes last night. But a person close to one of the companies' board representatives said it was likely that three, and possibly all four, of the firms' representatives would support Finneran.
In our recent Health Wonk Review post, we cited a fellow blogger who commented on differing perceptions of the pharmaceutical industry among its executives and the public. Here is an example of what may be driving the public's (and physicians') skeptical perceptions about the industry. Doesn't advocating a confessed felon, and an obstructor of justice at that, to continue as a top industry spokesperson, as the Globe alleged, suggest a management approach that is badly ethically challenged?
Maybe pharmaceutical industry executives could convince people they are "well-meaning" if they at least were to restrict their spokespeople to those who have not been convicted of felonies.
ADDENDUM (1/11/2007) According again to the Boston Globe, Finneran has quit his job with the Biotechnology Council, and was promptly hired as a host on talk radio. He also was quoted that despite pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, when he looked back on his time served in the state legislature, he felt he "would not change a thing."