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Meg Alexander

Recent Posts by Meg Alexander

August 12, 2016

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Patient Assistance Programs: The Next Issue to put Pharm in the Penalty Box?

The time was 10 AM on the morning of April 18th, 2016, when Michael Pearson, beleaguered CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, sat down before the US Senate Committee on Aging hearing titled:Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ Business Model: the Repercussions for Patients and the Health Care System. If the session name alone was not damning enough, the tension was heightened by the uncertainties surrounding Mr. Pearson. Previously, the CEO had avoided past hearings, but this time, Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Susan Collins (R-ME) had indicated they would pursue contempt of Congress charges if the prodigal CEO did not appear in person. To all in attendance, it was unclear how Pearson would perform after only returning to work weeks earlier, following a long hospital-based absence reportedly battling life-threatening pneumonia. As Senators initiated what would become a nine-hour inquiry into Valeant’s actions to acquire and increase the price of rare disease medicines, one new issue came to the fore — patient assistance programs. Mr. Pearson testified that Valeant expected to spend more than $1 Billion in 2016 on patient assistance programs for 55 of its products.[i] The disclosure and giving was intended to offset price increases on existing medicines for which Valeant had increased theContinue Reading

October 23, 2015

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Categories: Corporate Reputaion

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Alexander: Are you a slacktivist? You should be

In speaking to groups of corporate marketers and reputation managers, I often ask the crowd the question, “Are you a slacktivist?” Typically, I’m met with looks of confusion, or the remaining half of the audience goes mute, perhaps fearing judgment from peers for disclosing their online activities. If you are among those unfamiliar with the term, let me assist. A slacktivist is defined by the dictionary as someone who engages in “actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause requiring little time or involvement.” Signing an online petition, retweeting a provocative hashtag, and “disliking” comments on Facebook – a function coming soon – are all forms of slacktivism. The simplicity of such forms of protest, achieved by the flick of a thumb on your smartphone or iPad, have led naysayers to quip slacktivists are tantamount to “armchair” activists or “clicktivists,” thus insinuating a lack of commitment compared with the physical peace protests and picketing of generations’ past. It is no surprise, therefore, that participants in today’s advocacy and social justice movements bristle at their efforts being reduced to such simple epithets. Indeed, slacktivism is a very silly word for a very serious phenomena. But, slacktivismContinue Reading