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Oh. My. God.

I was leafing through the current issue of Disaster Recovery Journal this morning. Their cover article is on Avian Flu and integrating preparing for pandemic influenza into your Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery plan. Smack in the middle of that article is a full-page ad by Roche, the makers of Tamiflu.

The ad has the header text "Are Your Employees Covered" over a dark B&W picture shot from behind and above of a couple of suits descending a stone staircase under black umbrellas. Very dreary and boding of disaster. It has a pithy quote from Secy. Michael Leavitt of the Department of Health and Human Services: "Antiviral drugs are an important part of pandemic preparedness." The rest of the ad copy urges executives to purchase and stockpile their own corporate supplies of Tamiflu. It wraps with an appeal to visit their helpful web site www.pandemictoolkit.com.

WTF? This is piracy of the most brazen sort. Actually, I'm not sure which criminal label to apply here. We have a company hawking a product that governments say they need for their stockpiles, to corporations so that they can hoard it for their employees. Scare enough executives and you get a land-rush on Tamiflu, driving up prices, and Roche profits hand-over-fist. Profits from a pandemic that hasn't happened yet. Profits at the expense of poorer nations' ability to lay in stocks of the drug. You know, the poorer nations where people still farm and still live with their ducks, geese and pigs. Poorer nations that are likely to be the spawning ground for the next influenza pandemic.

I should probably be beyond amazement at this sort of behavior. But I'm not. It still stinks, no matter how Roche wraps it in a gown of "preparing for disaster." It's corporate piracy, pure and simple.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 31st, 2006 03:06 am (UTC)
They forgot to add to the ad that Tamiflu is relatively ineffective versus the current worst forms of Avian flu.. I can't remember the other anti-viral that is relatively effective but that ain't it.

Greedy bastards.
Aug. 1st, 2006 01:50 am (UTC)
I was doing some reading ... apparently H5N1 is not a virus -- it's a family of avian influenza virii. There is a strain that emerged in Viet Nam in '05 that is particularly virulent in humans, with a near complete fatality rate (and symptoms that start out like standard flu and wind up looking a lot like a haemorhagic fever a la Ebola). But, they say that it would have to mutate some more to pick up pandemic-level human-to-human transmissability. Yuck.
Aug. 1st, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC)
I'm late to this, but equally guilty is the Journal for allowing this crap to be embedded in the article. Shameful product placement. Someone....needs to write a letter to the editors, dontcha think?
Aug. 2nd, 2006 12:57 am (UTC)
Someone....needs to write a letter to the editors, dontcha think?

Probably true. But this sort of ad placement seems to be par for the course in 'free' trade rags. Info World will place ads from equipment manufacturers right in the middle of 'test lab reports' that include that company's gear. Other rags are just as guilty. Each time I see one of those stunts I mentally up the size of the grain of salt with which I take everything in the magazine.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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