Pharmas Market with Mike Huckman

The McDonald's Drug Pipeline & Your Emails


Is there a pipeline from the C-suite of McDonald's to the ivory towers of biopharma? At least one "Pharma's Market" reader from overseas thinks so.

My post about Eli Lilly putting the COO of McDonald's on its Board drew an email from Vince Rubino in South Korea. He tried to put the move in perspective. "The case of McDonald's executives morphing into pharmaceutical company executives is a definite trend. Jeffrey Kindler was selected as Pfizer's CEO 2007 and Bill Wells was selected as Biovail CEOlast year. Both ex-McD executives and both selected to slash and burn in the pharma biz," Rubino wrote. Kindler used to run McDonald's Boston Market business. My question to Mr. Kindler a couple of years ago about what a chicken salesman knows about running a prescription pharmaceutical company is infamous in certain circles. I still think it was fair, but might have cost me access to him for a long while. Others think I was out of line.

Surprisingly, no one from MCD's PR wrote me to call my attention to this, but Mr. Rudino also pointed out that the fast-food chain has a partnership with the Scripps Research Institute to fight juvenile diabetes.

Thursday's entryabout Amgen , which manufactures a drug that's popular among cyclists as a performance-enhancer, sponsoring a bike race with Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong got a few angry responses. My colleague, Darren Rovell, also blogged his take on it.

AMGN employee Tim Valko wrote, "Hard to believe CNBC managed to find a negative view for such a worthy and needed cause such as 'Breakway from Cancer.' You should be disgraced for publishing Huckman's nonsense."

Barbara Self, who didn't say if she works for or invests in AMGN, emailed, "The old adage seems mighty appropriate here 'If you can't say something good, don't say anything.' For Mike to write such a hit piece about the Amgen-sponsored bike tour seems like he is digging a bit low for a story. Shame on him. Perhaps 'Sour Grapes' is at play here."

Hmm, I guess I must've skipped the course in journalism school that says reporters should only write about good, happy things. Yes, I'm not pleased that Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer hasn't talked to me since I apparently ticked him off in a CNBC interview a few years ago, but that doesn't factor into whether I write about what I think is a worthy blog topic.

And my blog and coverage from the "4th Annual Stem Cell Summit" earlier this week didn't sit well with one viewer/reader. In very large, boldfaced type, C. Kraft complained, "You do an immense disservice to people who seek a good place to invest when you lump all stem cell companies together...without pointing out...the ones that want to use only stem cells from aborted babies." Actually Mr. Kraft, I spelled out exactly what type of stem cells a particular company uses in every CEO interview and report I did that day.

On Monday, I'll be reporting from another conference—the Generic Pharmaceutical Association annual meeting in Naples, FL. Lots to talk about there.

Have a good weekend.

Questions?  Comments?