Thursday, September 23, 2004


I know I’m doing a lot of linking this week, rather than original reporting or even original thinking. Sorry. Sometimes the well just runs dry, and you find yourself running to the corner for a two-liter bottle of Caffeine-Free Diet Coke.

And even as you ponder whether that metaphor works, here’s another link, this one to a Boston Globe article (is this a first for me?) about Peter Rost, a Pfizer Inc. executive who says his employer and its peers are “employing misleading and immoral tactics in their effort to stop the importation of low-cost prescription medicine from Canada” — perhaps the only high-ranking drug exec to do so.

I link to this mainly so it doesn’t get lost, because Rost says some great things, getting on the record, from an expert source, the obvious ones we’ve always known: mainly that drugs from Canada and much of Europe are quite safe.

Rost is very brave to do this, or he’s independently wealthy. Pfizer is watching him, and foreshadowing action against him.

In the Globe article, a company spokesman notes Rost “is clearly identifying himself as a Pfizer employee, while at the same time professing to express his own personal views, and that does represent a conflict.” There is no conflict, of course. Rost’s identity as a Pfizer executive — not just an employee, but an executive — is what gives him his credibility.

To Rost, it’s Pfizer that has a conflict. He sees it as a company that can help people but chooses not to, and is lying to justify its decision.

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