Tag Archives: clinical trial

Placebo Takes The Heat

“I hate providing quotes for press releases,” said Rupert.

“Every company CEO needs to say something profound when the company makes headlines,” Betty said.  “Especially two headlines in one day.  Don’t worry, your Marketing VP, what was his name?”

“Marky Marketeer,” Rupert said as he stared at the ground.  “I hope he changes his name soon.”

“Marky.  Yes.  Don’t worry, he can create a quote for you.  It’s not like anyone ever actually said that stuff in the news.”

“Yes, but this isn’t my fault,” said Rupert.

“Oh, Rupert, placebo effects are nobody’s fault.  They just…happen.  Do you know how you are going to spin this one?”

“Well, you have to wonder why someone would keep taking a drug for three whole years if there’s no improvement.  Calmidizole and all those anti-depressants take a while to act, but not that long.”

Betty gasped.  “Three years?  If it doesn’t help, what doctor would keep prescribing it?  Whatever it is.  And it’s already FDA approved, so what is the lawsuit?”

“Oh, some dumb broad thinks -”

“Rupert!”  Betty glared with fierce, burning eyes.

Rupert looked around, checked his zipper, then glanced back at Betty.  “What?”

“What was that sensitivity training lecture I gave you this morning?”

Rupert’s eyes focused.  “Oh.  That.  Sorry, and I will never use the word ‘sideboob’ again.”  He inhaled deeply.  “Anyway.  So she claims the drug should be off the market because it didn’t help her personally.  If that is OK, then who needs an FDA?  Every drug will fail with somebody, so there’d be no drugs.  We think the court will toss it out.”

“It just better,” said Betty.  “Now.  What happened with your clinical trial?  You know, the cancer one.”

“Prostate cancer is nasty,” Rupert said.  “Just about any drug helps only a small percent, and ThermoNu-Q-LRx should do just that.  It just helped a smaller percent than normal – and the placebo helped a larger percent than normal.”  He moaned for the tenth time that hour.  “Our stock dropped 97% to a buck, and Rotten Capital downgraded our stock.”

He moaned yet again.  “What kind of quote do I give?  Something like, ‘Sorry to waste all our investors’ funds, it doesn’t work’ or what?”

Betty grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him.  “First, quit whining.  Second, try something like ‘We notice this subset of patients did improve, and we intend to discuss this with the FDA.’  Never give up.  Never.”

Rupert’s eyes focused.  “I’m not giving up. ThermoNu-Q-LRx needs to be activated by radiation, and that seems to work.  All of the treatment patients had brighter teeth, even if they still had cancer.  When we started developing the drug, we put patients in front of a color TV.  Now we need to point the radioactivity at the patient bone metastases.  You know, those painful little arrowheads that show up on elbows and knees.”

Betty gasped again and covered her mouth.  “You pointed radioactivity at their bones?  Rupert, did you give these patients bone cancer?”  She twisted her face into a sarcastic smirk.  “I’m sure that will send your stock into outer space.”

“Oh,” said Rupert.  “Um…could I quote you on that?”


Sources of inspiration:

  1. http://www.pharmalot.com/2013/02/pfizer-zoloft-and-the-vexing-placebo-effect/
  2. http://www.bioworld.com/content/celsion-out-cold-following-heat-failure-thermodox-0
  3. http://seekingalpha.com/article/1283871-celsion-s-thermodox-may-be-back-in-play?source=yahoo