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Thursday, January 04, 2007

How Not to be Evil

People, people, people. How many times do I have to explain this? If you are going to be evil, you do it in a closed board room allowing only those who have taken blood oaths to keep your evil ways secret. You do not do it via e-mail. E-mail is forever.

From the Wall Street Journal (sorry, you have to be a subscriber to read it all):
Abbott's sickening plot: E-mail trail shows efforts to price-gouge on its AIDS drug c included proposal to sell its own cheaper drug, Norvir, only in a liquid form that tastes like vomit

John Carreyrou
CR Wall Street Journal

In fall 2003, Abbott Laboratories grew worried about new competition to its flagship AIDS drug, Kaletra. Then it seized on an unusual weapon that helped Kaletra's global sales top $1 billion a year, even as it exposed Abbott to criticism that it was endangering patients.
The weapon was an older Abbott AIDS drug called Norvir. It is a key part of a drug treatment that involves taking Norvir and rival companies'pills. Previously undisclosed documents and e-mails reviewed by the Wall Street Journal show how Abbott executives discussed ways to diminish the attraction of Norvir, with the goal of forcing patients to drop the rival drugs and turn to Kaletra.

At one point, the executives debated removing Norvir pills from the U.S. market and selling the medicine only in a liquid formulation that one executive admitted tasted like vomit. The taste would discourage use of Norvir and competitors' drugs and bring customers back to Kaletra, the executives reasoned, and Abbott could claim it needed Norvir pills for a humanitarian effort in Africa. Another proposal was to stop selling Norvir altogether.

Blech. And just after I said I had great respect for pharma companies.

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