Friday, June 6, 2008

Pfizer's Failure to Communicate

The Wall Street Journal Blog by Avery Johnson reported that Pfizer invited the media, including the WSJ Health Blog, to a roundtable about Chantix at the company’s 42nd Street HQ. The purpose of the meeting was to send the following message regarding recent negative Chantix media reports:

#1 Smoking is a serious health problem that kills people.

#2 Most of the adverse events that have been reported recently are already in the Chantix label.

#3 Smokers who are trying to quit can be depressed and irritable.

#4 Paying close attention to adverse-event reports helps the FDA and Pfizer enhance drug safety.

As I noted previously, all of the Chantix-related side effects are also known to be associated with cigarette smoking and cigarette smoking cessation withdrawal.

I’m glad to see that Pfizer called a round table to clear up this issue with the media.

However, Pfizer needs to also communicate MUCH better with its physician customers since they are the ones who write prescriptions for Chantix, and have to face the anxious and nervous patients who read the worrisome media reports. The same patients that lead to the media reports!

Last time I looked, no one at the Wall Street Journal blog was writing scripts for Chantix.

Pfizer management needs to understand the physician communication concept much better or all the other Wall Street analysts will be following Goldman Sachs’ lead.

Robert Cykiert, M.D.