Spin Doctor - a public relations person who tries to forestall negative publicity by publicizing a favorable interpretation of the words or actions of a company.
GlaxoSmithKline, the British pharmaceutical company who have promised that they won't be bribing doctors or key opinion leaders anymore, have come up with a wonderful alternative that has 'SPIN' written all over it.
The smokescreen it will be operating under is called "Patient First", another piece of carefully crafted spin. "Patient First" was a scheme put into place as part of Glaxo's Corporate Integrity Agreement which saw them fined a staggering $3billion by the Department of Justice for misdemeanours involving, bribery, kickbacks and off-label promotion of dangerous drugs to children. [Back story]
Fed up of being the bad guys Glaxo have promised to do away with top University boffs to promote their drugs, opting instead for in-house doctors on their payroll. Hey, nobody can accuse them of bribery if they are paying an annual salary to someone employed by them, right?
Forget the potential conflict of interest that looms just press ahead and hire specialist doctors...give them a wage, give them a list of what they can or can't say and voila... we have a KOL by proxy.
Genius spin once again from GlaxoSmithKline.
Glaxo has been reforming marketing practices to improve its reputation. In 2012, the company agreed to pay $3 billion to settle allegations that it illegally promoted its Paxil and Wellbutrin anti-depressants and failed to report safety data on the Avandia diabetes drug. Hiring doctors and medical experts to speak as in-house representatives of Glaxo will provide more transparency, Connelly said.
Glaxo's Deirdre Connolly said, "We'll continue to disseminate this very important information on drug benefits and risks, but we’re just not going to do that by hiring external speakers,” Adding, “We want to ensure that no one even perceives us to be doing anything wrong.”
Hmmm, it would be easy for me, as a critic of GSK, to jump on that last quote... I much prefer to ask why Connolly chose to use the word 'continue' as if they [GSK] had been doing the right thing even when they did hire external speakers!
This latest move from the masters of spin should serve as a stark warning to all those journalists and TV doctor's who actually believe GSK are really going to clean up the rot that their CEO, Andrew Witty, once described as being an 'era'.
In the words of Jack Black, "Read between the lines...read between the lines."