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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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June 8, 2005

A Day in the Life of Peter Rost

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Posted by Derek

I last wrote about Pfizer executive Peter Rost back in September, after he'd unburdened himself on the subject of Canadian drug reimportation. As readers will recall, his position on this issue is roughly that Canadian drug reimportation is a wonderful idea that needs to be implemented with all possible speed, which puts him rather at odds with the views of most pharmaceutical executives.

So, you're wondering, how's Rost doing these days? Today's New York Times catches up with him:

"No man is an island. But Peter Rost is getting close.

Dr. Rost, a vice president for marketing at Pfizer with a history of corporate whistle-blowing, has for the last year publicly criticized the pharmaceutical industry over the price of drugs. Along the way, Dr. Rost has become increasingly isolated at Pfizer, the world's largest drug company.

First, his employees stopped reporting to him. Then his supervisors stopped returning his calls and now he does not know whom to report to. His secretary left, he said, and he was moved to an office near Pfizer's security department at a company building in Peapack, N.J."

The article goes on to say that Rost tried to log in to his Pfizer e-mail the morning after he recently appeared on "60 Minutes", and found his access denied. If you read to the end, though, you find that by that afternoon, he was connected again, and that Pfizer claims that this is a glitch that has affected other employees.

And if you don't read carefully, you'll miss the line about how this was the first time Rost has tried to access his Pfizer e-mail in two weeks. Now, that makes the case for his isolation better than anything else in the article. Who on earth could go without their office e-mail for two weeks? As it turns out, Rost also got word out to the Newark Star-Ledger about his problem, and mentioned to them that he doesn't get in to the office much. The Associated Press seems to have received an update from him, too.

I don't doubt that Rost is being treated by Pfizer as if he were giving off neutrons. Anyone who makes statements like he has, in any industry, is going to get the same, if they're not pitched out onto the street first. Rost has escaped that fate, apparently, because Pfizer's marketing of the growth hormone genotropin is under investigation, and Rost was in charge of that at Pharmacia when Pfizer took over. He's likely to be protected under whistle-blower law, and firing him would be a public relations problem for Pfizer under any circumstances. So, they can mostly hope that he leaves, and try to make that an attractive option, but that's about it.

There are worse fates. If you haven't lived in the area, "Peapack, NJ" sounds like it must be surrounded by oil refineries or something. It's actually surrounded by beautifully landscaped estates. That's the horsey, expensive part of New Jersey, not the asphalty 24-hour-check-cashing part. But Rost seems to be able to afford it, since at the very end of the article we find that his annual compensation is over $600,000. Many Times readers probably found themselves wishing that their own companies disliked them as much.

Now, Rost is telling the truth as he sees it, and any information he has about misconduct has to be put in a different category than his ideas about reimportation. Given the career consequences (paycheck aside, along with his recent raise,) I have to respect him for speaking his mind, while still largely disagreeing with his opinions. But he shouldn't have expected anything much different than what he's getting from Pfizer, and calling the news organizations about it with updates seems a bit much.

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Press Coverage


1. dr on June 13, 2005 6:12 PM writes...

Anyone interested in what Rost thinks about reimportation, and why he thinks it, might check out his Senate testimony from earlier this year.

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2. EHenry on June 16, 2005 1:21 PM writes...

Regarding Dr.Peter Rost, Why does he make such a stink about the cost of drugs in the US, instead he should be making a BIG stink about a Pfizer employee being on the FDA panel. That's like putting your mother in charge of voting for the "cutest baby in the world" and her baby is in the contest. The FDA is the biggest legal drug dealer in the world. These pharmaceutical companys, who work under FDA's "guidelines" create, supply, and distribute drugs, all with the approval of the FDA, even if research shows the drug is more damaging then good. BUT!! if one can make a few billions before someone dies then lets do it. Then let us pretend that those bad pharm. companies hid this information from us and now we will make them stop selling it, and they wouldn't even have to pay for their mistake....isn't it wonderful!!! One more thing, the FDA consider marjihuana a drug, but not tobbacco. Does it not state that a drug is considered a drug if it is researched, developed, manufactured, then given a monopoly on the drug for 20 years. I don't think marjihuana goes through any of these processes, so why is it labeled a drug? In my opinion, and millions of others, it is because the FDA can not contain total control of it's production and distribution. With tobacco it can not be called a drug even though it has caustic and addictive compounds, but the only reason the FDA allows it is because it contols and regulates the production. Try to grow tobacco on your own property and see how fast the FDA will come, guns drawn, and police in hand to arrest you for illegally growing tobacco. HUH??? I thought it wasn't a drug.....***SIGH*** these are all useless words I have written here, for the investigation and elimination of these two orginizations will never happen and we will continue to die in the hands of the FDA and pharmaceutical companies....Oh well, at least I got it off my chest for today :)

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3. EHenry on June 16, 2005 1:50 PM writes...


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4. Derek Lowe on June 16, 2005 3:28 PM writes...

Glad you got that off your chest. You're aware, I guess, that I work for the Evil Drug Industry(tm)?

And no, I think for now I'll decline the offer to get's perspective. Readers are welcome to check it out, though, if they have enough time on their hands.

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5. qetzal on June 16, 2005 3:57 PM writes...


It seems Derek's blog has intercepted a comment from an alternate universe. One where FDA has authority over tobacco and marijuana.

I wonder what the ATF and DEA do over there?

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6. biff on June 17, 2005 12:39 AM writes...

More than a little irony in the "dot com" part of marxist.COM, no? Be sure to stop by their online store! Who will bury whom, eh?

Honestly, they have a very, um, entertaining "Science & Technology" section their website. It's pretty obvious that all we need to do to revolutionize drug discovery is to add a little "dialectic" to the mix, but obviously the running dogs of the globally hegemonic pharma industry and their craven lackeys at the FDA will fight to the death to prevent the masses from getting the medicine they need!

(Wow, that was fun...I think I need a cigarette...or a new spleen.)

Viva la revolucion!

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7. qetzal on June 17, 2005 9:23 AM writes...

That was nice, Biff.

I suppose you'll be receiveing your personalized wallet ID card and secret decoder ring any day now, right?


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8. biff on June 17, 2005 8:14 PM writes...

Hey, after my remark about needing a cigarette, you're lucky I didn't start ranting about how the tobacco companies enslave the proletariat via the chains of smoking, er, um, chain smoking, uh, well, something like that. I'd probably overwhelm Derek's server!


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