A New Controversy in the Making
J&J seems to have unwittingly given birth to a new controversy by hosting a dinner for healthcare bloggers in Manhattan. As Steve Palter MD noted on his blog, "the big pharma folks are exploring the blogosphere and testing the waters before they tread deeply. Their goal was to explore the medical blogging environment and garner information to help them decide how to get involved."
Unfortunately for J&J, since bloggers are not known for keeping things secret, the blog traffic started to mushroom immediately after the event.
Mind you, there is no evidence that J&J wanted to keep things secret. (See, this is exactly how innuendo works! You say something in complete innocence or on purpose and make trouble for someone else.)
So, what's the controversy? Well, it's the same as big bad pharma inviting doctors to dinner and influencing (read: buying) their prescribing habits. In this case, the danger is getting bloggers to say nice things about the biopharma companies and/or their products.
The reaction from the bloggers, those invited or not, were predictable.