I Shake my Fist at Pfizer, Inc.

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And, Laugh out Loud over D2D Marketing

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; FACFAS, MBA, CMP™


We all know how intrusive direct-to-consumer [D2C] marketing by the pharmaceutical industry has become. Especially for those male “enhancement” type drugs that seem to be a ubiquitous feature on TV, the print media and internet, etc.

No, I’m not talking about sildenafil citrate or minoxidil; although I do recall seeing them on TV for the last decade, or so; maybe more. The target audience for both keeps getting younger and younger; or am I getting older and older? Still, allow me to assure all ME-P readers that the problems they reportedly treat are not my own.


For this post however, I am talking about antibiotics.

Pfizer Seriously

Seriously, we are all aware that D2C marketing, and patients, goad doctors into “action” during an office visit [i.e., prescribe], when perhaps they ought not to. A follow-up office visit is often able to be scheduled, too.

Think: the antibiotic drug resistance epidemic.

Therefore, I was so righteously upset recently that I had to go out for a premature hour-long run, as I have been doing almost daily for thirty years, just to cool off.


It’s because I received the email copied verbatim, below.

Doctor [my name was not used, but my personal email address was correct],

For decades, azithromycin has been proven clinically effective to fight infections in your patients. With Zmax, azithromycin is reformulated to provide the same powerful efficacy against infection in a single, well-tolerated, liquid dose.

Zmax — the novel one-dose formulation of azithromycin
Zmax is indicated for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in pediatric patients and adults and acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in adults. Zmax uses extended-release microspheres to deliver one well-tolerated, front-loaded dose.

Zmax is not to be confused with Zithromax®, Z-Pak®, or Tri-Pak®

By delivering 100% compliance with just one dose, Zmax is the only formulation of azithromycin that avoids the complexities of multiple-day dosing for your patients.3-5

Prescribe Zmax and save with the “Never Pay More Than $20” coupon
Prescribe Zmax as your antibiotic-of-choice for your patients with CAP and ABS.
Zmax guarantees that your patients never pay more than $20 with the cost-saving Zmax coupon. For more information, please visit
www.ZmaxInfo.com or www.PfizerPro.com/Zmax

Raymond W. Urbanski; MD, PhD

Vice President
Clinical Development and Medical Affairs
Established Products Business Unit
Pfizer, Inc.

Now, I have prescribed Zithromax® in the past, and will probably do so again in the future. I have lectured for several big-pharma companies throughout the years, and have written a textbook on bone and soft tissue extremity infections, and their diagnosis and treatment. I have served, and still serve, as a medical expert witness in malpractice cases involving infectious diseases, etc. But, I do not, repeat, do not need to be reminded by personal email about this anti-microbial, or any other drug. Being spammed in the office is one thing; but please not at home. I “reply-cancelled” the email; I think. Will let you know, down-line.

Of Podcasts and Webcasts

Recently, I was asked to make several new-wave podcast and modern webcast presentations for physician distribution by third-party vendors of the pharmaceutical industry. From what I could gather, this sort of “product information” distribution has not been eagerly embraced by the profession to-date, and so they are searching for industry recognized “names” to do their bidding. And so, as an educator, I acquiesced regarding same. But, I do pine for the attractive female pharma-rep visits back-in-the-day; replete with food for “lunch and learn” office presentations [mea culpa].

Think: Sermo, if you want a medical opinion.     


Poor Dr. Urbanski, by the looks of his sur-name, I bet he’s Polish like me. I also bet that he gets more than a few emails, cards, faxes and letters like this post.

So, here’s where you need to imagine me shaking my fist at Pfizer, Inc.

I also laugh mockingly, as well.

Click to play :

PS: Ray, call me; let’s do lunch.


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7 Responses

  1. Here is an interesting article by Steve Woodruff on drug company profit-seeking and ethics.




  2. Mary, Dr. Marcinko and Dr. Raymond W. Urbanski

    Drug giant Pfizer (PFE) just agreed to plead guilty to a charge of illegally marketing 13 drugs, including the now-withdrawn painkiller Bextra.

    I do not usually blog, but I too laugh at Pfizer, and again; Hah! In this time of healthcare reform; have they no shame, or PR smarts? The fine was $2.3 billion.

    Read all about it here:




  3. Some Good Pharma News

    Pfizer and Stanford University have joined to develop new CME courses that are free of any – and all – pharma industry influence.

    Now that is good news, according to some industry observers.




  4. Pfizer Says Bye-Bye

    Dr Marcinko, one long-anticipated ax has fallen as Pfizer plans to shut down production at eight manufacturing plants by 2015 and scale back operations at six others, cutting about 6,000 jobs in the process.




  5. A Drug Pusher?

    Dr. Marcinko; is Pfizer a drug pusher? Well, not in the conventional sense; of course. But, it is by far the biggest distributor of drug samples.

    In fact, new congressional data shows the world’s largest drug-maker handed out about $2.7 billion worth of free samples in 2007.


    That’s almost seven times the amount distributed by the company in second place; Merck with $356 million. And, all together, reported sample spending toped $3 billion.



  6. Insurance Company Sues Pfizer, Alleging Improper Use and Kickbacks

    A Texas health insurance company is suing Pfizer Inc., saying that the drug maker deceptively marketed three of its top-selling drugs, illegally encouraging doctors to prescribe them for non-approved uses and paying kickbacks to doctors.

    Health Care Service Corp., which runs Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas and covers 12.4 million people in four states, filed the lawsuit against Pfizer on June 4. Pfizer has settled other similar lawsuits and agreed in September to pay $2.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties over its promotion of Bextra, Lyrica, Geodon, and other drugs. Pfizer spokesman Chris Loder said the company denies all the allegations.

    Source: Doc Cafe via AP [6/21/10]


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