Thursday, November 15, 2012
This, in my opinion, is the crowning glory of my drug company junk collection. It's absolutely hideous, so bad in fact that it is wonderful.
Clarinex, as some may not know, is basically "son of Claritin." Claritin was a non-sedating anti-histamine which made a bus-load of money for the manufacturer. But then the drug went generic, and eventually OTC, threatening to shut down the pipeline of cash coming from its sales.
So the company turned to the same trick done with Nexium, Lexapro, and a myriad of other drugs: they took only one stereoisomer (left or right-handed molecule) of an already successful drug and marketed it as a new drug. The problem is that the already successful drug had to be made to seem bad enough to warrant the "new and improved" version. Nexium was incredibly successful in this, while Clarinex was not nearly so successful.
Perhaps the marketing team is to blame.
Someone actually came up with the idea to make this hideous ... thing.
"I have an idea!" a marketing team member said at a meeting. "How about making a pen holder in the shape of the sun, with pens coming out of it as sunbeams!"
"Good idea," responded the person leading the meeting, "but it's just not enough. What can we do to send home the message that says just how great Clarinex is for allergies?"
The room was silent for a few minutes until the face of the original marketer brightened. "I know! Nothing is better than breakfast. How about putting breakfast at the ends of each pen? It will make doctors feel real happy and the sun will make them warm inside, knowing that it was Clarinex which brought them joy."
"Clever idea," responded the team leader. "We can put orange juice, coffee ..."
"And oatmeal!" shouted another team member, caught up in the inspiring moment. "There has to be oatmeal!"
"Good thought," encouraged the team leader. "Oatmeal is healthy, and warms you from the inside."
"I don't like oatmeal," said the first member, pouting. "My mom made me eat oatmeal growing up, while all the other kids were eating Lucky Charms."
"Hmm ..." said the team leader. "Yes, there will be some physicians who equate oatmeal with bad childhood memories."
"But we have got to have oatmeal!" insisted the person who had the idea. "It is so warm and healthy!"
"Yes, I agree," said the team leader. "So we need to have an alternative breakfast item for those who don't eat oatmeal. What about pancakes?"
The group grinned with enthusiasm, but one member didn't join in on the smile-fest. "I don't know," he said. "I just don't eat that much in the mornings. I'm sure a lot of docs are like me and just want to have their morning coffee and read the newspaper."
"Why not add a newspaper, then?" responded the team-leader.
High fives and fist bumps made their way around the room, as they were all caught up in the rapture of true inspiration. They put together a pitch to go to the marketing executives, who were also caught up with rapture when seeing their wondrous creativity. They then sent it out to drug reps who excitedly deposited them on the desks of doctors like me.
Doctors who broke out laughing at just how hideous this ... thing ... looks.
And then the marketing team was fired.
Not to worry, though, there are plenty of political campaigns looking for this sort of genius.
After taking a year-long hiatus from blogging, Rob Lamberts, MD, ACP Member, returned with "volume 2" of his personal musings about medicine, life, armadillos and Sasquatch at More Musings (of a Distractible Kind), where this post originally appeared.
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