David Armstrong of The Wall Street Journal blogs Friday about the corporate sponsorship of panels and symposiums aimed at business journalists and other reporters at the UNITY conference this week.
Armstrong writes, “An Phan, a spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk, said 274 journalists showed up for the lunch. She said the company selected the speakers and ‘set the agenda’ for what the panelists should talk about, but that the panelists came up with their own presentations. There was no discussion of brand-name drugs, she said, or any effort to promote Novo Nordisk products. She said the lunch was the first time the company had sponsored such an event for journalists.
“A spokesman for Unity, which takes place every four years, wasnâ€™t immediately available for comment. For comparisonâ€™s sake, the Association of Health Care Journalists doesnâ€™t accept funds from manufacturers of health-care products, including drugs and medical devices.
“Novo isnâ€™t the only pharmaceutical company making a financial contribution to Unity. Eli Lilly is a bronze sponsor of the event. The list of sponsors goes beyond drugmakers and includes McDonaldâ€™s and embattled government mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which is underwriting a panel called ‘Starting out in Business Journalism.'”
Read more here.