Readers Get Short With Me--Over Amgen

Ahead of the long holiday weekend I thought this would be as good a time as any to once again go through the "Pharma's Market" mailbag.

A couple of blog readers complained about my "short" story about Amgen.

Lilly Xu tells me: "You can't help being negative towards Amgen. You purposely did not mention that if short interest is too high, it also drives the stock price up because it needs to be covered especially when it goes in the wrong direction." And Bill Mack in Milwaukee asks, "What do you have against Amgen? Every article you post is negative for Amgen, and it is the same old stuff over and over. Who is paying you off? Get a life."

Bill: General Electric pays my salary, but no one's paying me off. And I had not reported the story about the quickly escalating short interest in AMGN--which I found in Barron's, by the way--before.

After reading in my recent post about Wyeth and Elan's Alzheimer's drug that Goldman Sachs had added ELNto its "Conviction Buy" list, Rich Obermeier wrote with the query:
"What does the term 'conviction buy' list mean?"

Good question. Joe Kernen makes fun of the confusing connotation of Goldman's use of the word "conviction" all the time. It's a euphemism for, "We're pounding the table on this stock." GS has a "Conviction Buy" and a "Conviction Sell" list.

Dr. Sanjay Kaul, who's a big deal at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in my hometown of L.A., emailed a response to my blog about the FDA delaying a decision on whether to approve Eli Lilly's bloodthinner Effient.The bulk of his communication is way too technical and medical for the layreader, but he essentially addresses the apparent concern about excessive bleeding in some patients in the large clinical trial: "When you consider that patients at high-risk for bleeding were not enrolled in the trial, the benefit-risk assessment in real-world clinical practice becomes even more challenging," Dr. Kaul writes. "Not surprising that the FDA needs more time (and perhaps outside help) to ponder this conundrum!"

And my aside in the entry about Merck's migraine drugregarding the unwieldy name for New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College drew this clarification from Glenn Schulman, the Director of Investor Relations and Medical Communications for CuraGen Corporation:
"We have issued many (press) releases regarding studies conducted under investigators at that fine institution," Mr. Schulman said. "Although the hospital has one of the longest names out there, you will notice that there is actually no space between New York in NewYork Presbyterian Hospital. Don't ask me why, maybe they are trying to shorten the name somewhat."

Weird, but he's right. Check it out. I'm surprised the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College PR team didn't point out my mistake.

And hey, Mr. Schulman, smart way to get a mention for your $52 million company that otherwise wouldn't meet the CNBC market-cap criteria.

Questions? Comments?