Pharma Karma: reporting in

Greetings from Philadelphia, PA. Love this city – always have. It’s the city of brotherly love, and that’s why I’m here. To share a little love — or more to the point — some perspective.

This is a conference FOR pharma marketers, but NOT put on by the pharma industry. That’s an important distinction, which you’ll understand better in a minute.

Many months ago, the conference producer, Kelly (who is delightful to collaborate with and very VERY good at her job), found my website and learned that I help patients. She asked me if I would participate in this conference, and find three “real patients” to help the attendees better understand how we patient-consumers think.

Unknown to Kelly at the time, but perhaps an even better reason to ask me to participate in this conference, is because I spent more than 20 years of my career working in marketing. I know how to talk the marketing talk and walk the marketing walk — yet stick to my number one goal: helping patients — which is why the “who puts this conference on” perspective is important. Pharma marketers would benefit because “real patients” could be objective, informative — and honest.

So here we are — Eric, from the Pacific Northwest, DeWayne, from Nashville, and Kim from Minneapolis — and me. And this afternoon we presented our points of view ….

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would the pharmaceutical marketer attendees expect gloss? Would they expect venom? Would they be receptive? or discount our points of view? Would they try to defend their companies or dismiss us?

They did none of that. In fact, I was very pleased. The pharma attendees listened attentively to our patient stories: Eric, who is the caregiver for a loved one with dementia and another with breast cancer. DeWayne who suffers from debilitating backpain and almost fell prey to the oxycontin sham, and Kim, whose husband, an up and coming, full of life, newly appointed VP of sales for a start up company, committed suicide because he was taking zoloft to help him sleep. (Kim now advocates on behalf of patients and collaborates with the FDA. Read more: www.woodymatters.com )

My hope was that the attendees would see the real faces behind the statistics — the hurting hearts and minds of patients who have suffered, the faces that represent the loss of trust in drug companies and the harmful drugs that get sped to market, or are priced so outrageously that patients can’t afford them even if they could be helpful.

They saw our faces. They asked good questions. They got it.

On behalf of all patients who have been harmed by drugs, and those who have lost loved ones to harmful drugs or drug errors, or all those future patients who may benefit from some of the words spoken at today’s gathering…

I believe we represented you well.

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