Monday, October 17, 2005

A New Kind of Ghost-Writing: PhRMA Commissions a Thriller

In the New York Daily News, a truly bizarre story.

It seems that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), concerned about the increasing popularity of importing drugs to the US from Canada, came up with a scheme to reduce the credibility of this tactic. The Daily News reported that an outside consultant suggested that PhRMA commission a paper-back thriller to dramatize the dangers of imported drugs. The book was to be published by Phoenix Books, and written by ghost-writer Julie Chrystyn.

The plot concerned a Croatian terrorist cell
that uses Canadian web sites to murder millions of unwitting Americans looking for cut-rate pharmaceuticals.
The book was titled, "The Spivack Conspiracy," after Chrystyn's friend Kenin Spivack, who then became a co-writer.

PhRMA suggested several changes in the draft of the first 50 pages, according to Spivack, including
They wanted it somewhat dumbed down for women
They also wanted to change the motivating factor of the terrorists to greed, because they didn't want it to be politics. They wanted lots of people to die.
Eventually, PhRMA pulled out of the scheme. Its executive vice president Ken Johnson acknowledged the plan, but blamed the idea on "an outside consultant," and concluded, "in the final analysis, [we] decided it wasn't the right thing for us to do."

The News reported, however, that PhRMA did make at least one payment to Pheonix Books.

Again, do they expect to build trust in this manner?

We earlier posted about an editorial which called for the recognition of the brutal facts of health care. One such brutal fact is that leaders of large health care organizations do not shrink from using deception to serve their interests. Until we ensure the transparent governance of such organizations, the brutality will continue.

Thanks to PharmaGossip for the tip.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

PhRMA and Big Pharma ghostwriting has often involved works of fiction! But this takes the cake.