Wednesday, April 04, 2012

More "You're Too Negative, And You Don't Provide The Solution To The Problems You Critique", This Time re: Pharma

I think it worth noting that critical writers about both health IT and pharma attract a similar phenomenon: the anonymous attack accusing them of 'negativity' and not providing 'solutions.'

One excellent blog I read, as a former director of a pharmaceutical R&D department that supported, among others, medicinal chemists, is Derek Lowe's "In the Pipeline."

In the comment thread at his 'In the Pipeline' understatement-of-the-year post "Taking the Ax to the Scientists Is Probably a Mistake" (link), I posted numerous links to various Healthcare Renewal posts on pharma's current travails related to that theme, and to other forms of pharma mismanagement. The comment thread is below the post itself at the aforementioned link.

I post as "MIMD" and frequently link here and to my Drexel academic site, so I am anything but anonymous.

Invariably, a response (anonymous, of course!) of the type we've seen here at Healthcare Renewal (such as here and in a more extreme example, here) has appeared. Various logical fallacies are used as a form of argument.

Emphases and red comments mine:

74. Reply to MIMD [how's that for anonymity - a screen name of "Reply to MIMD"? - ed.] on April 4, 2012 3:44 AM writes...

MIMD, you have commented at length on this post blaming various parties for the industry's woes [i.e., you're too negative - ed.], dismissing other points of view [that are almost always unsubstantiated; I provide hyperlinks to posts at this blog and others regarding pharma mismanagement and malfeasance to justify my views - ed.] out of hand [well, no, actually - ed.] and offering nothing in the way of new ideas or solutions.

[Except for the myriad aforementioned links and clearer identification of the problems - ed.]

And then, this:

"If I were still in pharma and had kids in college and a mortgage, and a hope for a pension, I'd literally be keeping my head low. And certainly not writing the types of posts I do here and on the blog I often link to!"

[Pharma is as retaliatory of its internal critics and "whistleblowers" as is clinical medicine, except doesn't even bother with sham "peer review"; they just send people out the door. I do not believe pharma management understands or cares about the implications to people who are not wealthy. Discreetness and timing are everything for putative internal medchem change agents in this environment - ed.]

I'd just like to get your thoughts on the delicious irony of this post in the middle of your long-winded and boring commentary.

[Approaching ad hominem - ed.]

As far as I understand, you're advocating that pharma scientists blame anything that breathes for the problems whilst [seems to be from UK or related country - ed.] actively avoiding attempting to find a solution.

[Classic strawman argument - ed.]

Weirdo [another anonymous poster, possibly the same person as this - ed.] commented on this, and you laughably dismissed it out of hand so I expect no more.

[I opined that a naïvely idealistic and/or cruel Marie Antoinette-like suggestion that laid-off medicinal chemists simply just set up their own drug discovery shops to show Big Pharma how it 'should be done', as if doing so were a realistic option financially for mostly middle class people strapped by being laid off mid-career, was a useless suggestion - ed.]

But if you do fancy dropping a few more 'pearls of wisdom' our way I'd be fascinated to read them!

I think it was Homer Simpson that said "It's everybody's fault but mine". Seems apt, no? [No, in fact - ed.]

Permalink to Comment

My reply was:

75. MIMD on April 4, 2012 9:49 AM writes...

Re: #74

Regarding your comments, I offer a hearty "so what?"

In your comment I see no meaningful critiques of any of the volumes of writing I've posted links to, other than the hackneyed, quasi-ad hominem, without-merit statement about "dismissing other points of view out of hand and offering nothing in the way of new ideas or solutions."

That's disappointing.

I also must point out this classic example of the strawman fallacy:

you're advocating that pharma scientists blame anything that breathes for the problems whilst actively avoiding attempting to find a solution

I do believe they teach better debating skills in the Commonwealth realms.

Finally, when you come out from behind your cloak of anonymity, I'll consider answering in more depth. Who are you? What agenda are you hiding?

My bio is on the site I often link to, as well as at here.

Permalink to Comment

Derek Lowe's blog is a serious site for medicinal chemists and like-minded scientists currently being discarded by pharma; a perfect place for anonymous pharma sockpuppets to intersperse their materials.

Although I doubt it, it will be interesting to see if the anonymous poster reveals exactly who they are and what their agenda is.

I add that in an industry plagued with scientific ghostwriting, suppression of negative research, misleading marketing, an endless parade of "legal settlements" for various forms of malfeasance, mass layoffs and other troublesome practices, I find "ghost commenters" who attack the industry's detractors from behind cloaks of anonymity quite suspect. (Unless, of course, and ironically, the writer is afraid of pharma retaliation.)

Finally, I can understand how pharma executives might find detailed stories about pharma mismanagement and leadership thought errors profoundly disturbing. They are usually protected from such candid material in their dystopic, highly remunerative cocoons surrounded by ear-pleasing consultants and employee sycophants rightly fearing career termination.

-- SS

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