Thursday, August 7, 2008

Medbribe, and the Diary of Gilt

Hello diary. My name is Gilt Racked, and I work as a medical writer for a company called Medbribe. You’ve probably heard of us. We’re only the largest web portal and CME provider in the U.S.—but who’s bragging?
I’ve been having strange feelings lately. Mainly at work. I don’t know what to make of them, but I hope writing in this diary will help.
So hello diary.
I took the subway into work today, and the first thing I heard when I walked into my office was the very loud voice of my boss, Mr. Grant.
“Gilt?!!!” he yelled, menacingly.
“Yes Mr. Grant?”
“I just got a call from Ransom Pharmaceuticals. They are not happy!”
“Did you say Janssen?”
It was hard to hear him because he was on the other side of the Glassdoor. You see, the ACCME came up with this new policy saying that Medbribe’s advertising department had to be separate from our CME department. One day, management installed a Glassdoor between the departments to maintain compliance with the new regulation. It’s a little annoying. My voice has gotten awfully hoarse lately.
Anyway, Mr. Grant told me to read the latest issue of BusinessDay, saying that we had gotten burned by that “infernal do-gooder,” Dr. Care-a-lot, again.
“And guess what, Gilt: It’s your fault!”
“Wait boss,” I protested. “I don’t get it.”
“Aren’t you the one who wrote that article on Ransom’s antidepressant, Inveigle?”
“Actually, it’s an antipsychotic.”
“Whatever it is!”
“Yep, that was my assignment.”
“Sweet. Then maybe you can explain why Ransom’s educational grant guy just chewed me out for the last half hour. He said the article was too obvious. Said you used only one case, and that the multiple choice questions all led to Inveigle.”
I thought for a moment. I remember having had a "through-the-Glassdoor" meeting with marketing two weeks earlier. Some guy in sales came up with the idea of making up a case of a patient with schizophrenia and liver disease. He said a Ransom exec had told him this was the best way to highlight Inveigle.
“But I was just following instructions, boss.”
“INSTRUCTIONS?!!! Can’t you see this door! I don't give you instructions, remember? You’re CME, I’m marketing.”
I think Mr. Grant could see the sweat on my forehead.
“All right Gilt. Settle down. It’s not a big deal. Just…show me the damn article next time before you post it to the site. Or better yet, give someone at Ransom a call…a call, mind you, remember we don’t email anymore…and run it by them before posting it.”
“Yes, boss.”
“I’m just saying, Ransom pays us $100,000 for each of these little articles, and our job is to make sure they get a return on their investment, minus the PR headaches. Got it, Gilt?”
“All right, boss.”
“And Gilt?
“Yes, boss?”
“Read our mission statement before you get started on that Lire project.”
“I will, boss.”

I swiveled my chair around to face our five-point Medbribe Mission Statement.

1. Another Day, Another Million.
2. Our Customer’s Message drives our Mission.
3. Stock Options Matter.
4. Keep your HG’s Happy.
5. We are Medbribe. We are CME.

I sighed, and turned on my computer. Lire has a new drug for ADHD. I had to come up with a case to highlight it. But not too obvious this time. Got it: how about a guy who has comorbid bipolar disorder. First we get him treated with Seroquel or something, some therapeutic class that Lire doesn’t compete in. This unmasks his ADHD and then we treat him with Lire’s new drug, Lievanse. I felt good about this one, and finished it lickety-split. I sent it off to the HG (Hired Gun) on the project by the end of the day. I knew this doctor--he would sign off on it right away for his $2000 honorarium.

Oh, diary, I think I’m really good at this job. I hope I don't disappoint Mr. Grant this time!

(To be continued....)


Anonymous said...

Dr C:

I have read this posting 4 times now and am still baffled by it. If tongue and cheek, it has its place, but it is wierd nonetheless.

Have to say at least off the beaten path for all you have posted of late. Levity is needed!

Daniel Carlat said...

I wouldn't read much into it. It was an experiment, actually a satirical fantasy of what must go on in the CME department of Medscape.

Sometimes things work, sometimes they don't!

Anonymous said...

Hillarious! Well done, I work at medscape and I can tell you that the wall is not glass, its cellophane!

The Boss is not Mr. Grant, its Mr Needs-a-Grant-Approved! This is a brilliant expose' and very very accurate. One gets the sense that physicians don't really get all that goes on behind the production of their reading materials.

Let me ask you this one question...If pharma decides that institutions are the only ones that can submit for funding, how long will it be before they require those same institutions to provide the content as opposed to MECCs? I need to know because I will be looking for new job.

Hey, why not check out PriMeds NYC city meeting coming up? I hear they put on quite a show when it comes to dumbing down Psychiatry CME for the average Primary Care Physician. Do you think that's necessary? You do know they make more money than even my company, right? What exactly is the "primed institute?"

Are you looking for a good writer for your blog? I may be available...Don't tell Mr. Grant.

Anonymous said...

Sounds very similar to my father's experiences he wrote about in his own book years ago. He's a pharmaceutical sales rep and I learned early that doctors are bought quite easily with offshore fishing trips, cash, expensive dinners, and resort vacations. There are bans in place, of course, but they still get around them to buy doctors.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant job, Daniel.

Why don't we just eliminate the marketing departments at pharmas? That might take care of everything!

Or at least find marketing types who will tell the straight story--roses, warts, and all?

That way, scientists who work so hard to produce these life-giving medications and the patients who need them can cut out the noisy middle man. And everyone is better off.