Media Moves

Pfizer plays biz media like a fiddle

December 3, 2006’s Marek Fuchs noted that drug company Pfizer’s public relations strategy in the past week should be used as a case study because of the way it manipulated the business press.

Marek FuchsOn Tuesday, the company announced that it was cutting 2,000 salespeople, or about 20 percent of its sales force. Its sales force had been considered its strength.

Fuchs wrote, “Then Thursday rolled around. Pfizer cleverly invited analysts and investors to its research facilities in Groton, Conn., and sang (at top volume) the praises of the drugs in their pipeline. It also raised estimates a tad, but without meaningful higher revenue growth — that’s no big deal long term, so let’s ignore that.

“Pfizer, a true blue pipeline? Speaking of blue, this is a company whose last big bang came with the rise of Viagra, about eight years ago.

“Nevertheless, chief executive Jeffrey Kindler prattled on and was quoted widely about ‘significant scientific breakthroughs’ and how the company was ‘hungry for more.’

“Well, hunger and a quarter won’t shine your shoes, but who am I to quibble? It is extraordinarily hard to predict what is going on with FDA approval on any given Thursday, but the business media was not so cautious. This was a company that said it was ‘hungry.’

“A string of laudatory articles followed Thursday’s meeting, including one from Forbes titled ‘Six Pfizer Drugs to Watch’ about ‘intriguing’ drugs that ‘bear watching’ and another from Forbes titled: ‘Pfizer Fights Back.'”

Read more here.

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