Open Letter to Steven Colbert: Want a Job?

By November 16, 2008Uncategorized

We give up. We know when we're beaten. Years, hell, decades of experience, effort and thought about pharmaceutical marketing seem kind of trivial now. Steven Colbert, host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, is a pharmaceutical marketing genius. We can't compete. Denying the obvious won't help.

 Yesterday's Wall Street Journal Health blog reported on a new segment on the Colbert Report, "Cheating Death With Dr. Steven T. Colbert." Along with startlingly visionary commentary on cutting-edge research in healthcare, Dr. Colbert also provided marketing insights and recommendations that have us sick — sick, we tell you — with envy and professional jealousy. To quote the Journal piece:

On Wednesday, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, of all people, weighed in with some remarkably trenchant analysis on the results of the Jupiter trial.
That’s the study that showed people with normal cholesterol but high
C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, had a reduced risk of
heart attack if they took AstraZeneca’s statin Crestor.

“This is a great breakthrough in the battle to find things to
prescribe to people who don’t need them,” he declared midway through a
segment called “Cheating Death with Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A.”
(That’s Doctor of Fine Arts, and is apparently qualification enough for
some biting medical analysis.)

“True, the drug costs $100 a month,” he explained. “But that is a
small price to pay to not have the heart attack that there’s no way of
knowing that you would have had.”

After a video clip of Stanford cardiologist Mark Hlatky sounding a cautionary note on the results, Colbert quipped, “sounds like someone hasn’t gotten enough free Crestor pens.”

As if his "use pens" insight wasn't revolutionary enough, Colbert went on in his signature, seemingly effortless style, to sketch out yet another paradigm-shifting approach to marketing statins to patients at high risk of cardiac disease. Dr. Colbert proposed a new class of drug, which we're going to christen "facilitator" compounds, that will do more to promote adherence and compliance, and minimize noncompliance, than any approach we have ever arrived at without the help of a mind like Colbert's. 

The complete structure of his analysis is far beyond the scope of this blog, and probably our intellects as well. The best way to summarize his work is to paraphrase his segment, in which he proposes the creation of a compound he christened Vaxacrest, which would increase a patient's cholesterol until his blood was transformed into a substance not unlike the cheese that's used in nachos, thus making statins a necessity. Now that's marketing.

Mr. Colbert, anytime you decide the television thing has gotten a little stale, and you want to be, say, director of strategy at a hot ad agency focusing on relationship marketing for pharmaceutical clients, your office is waiting.

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