Pharma Karma: ASBMR Shoots Itself in the Foot

Posted by Jeff Berk; BOLT International

 

 

 

 

If only it was this easy to trade in the ASBMR.

 

Every ASBMR I switch off buying dinner with one of BOLT’s Osteoporosis Thought Leaders.  It’s a tradition that’s gone on for some time now.  This year he bought, and we had some great Italian food at de’Medici.  And some great wine as well.  And once we were drunk (okay, I can only speak for me; and couldn’t speak that night, period), the conversation turned to how bad this year’s ASBMR scientific sessions were compared to those of years past.  Gentleman that he was, my colleague did his best to soften the blow and pointed out that the Gerontological Society of America is ten times more corrupt (politically correct, incompetent, old-boy  pick your own derogatory adjective – the more fire spittin’ the better) than ASBMR.

 

So am I really off base on this one?  First, the obvious answer is “no”, as I’m never wrong(ish).  But more to the point, in BOLT’s upcoming Osteoporosis Thought Leader Panel #53, which will publish pretty soon, our Panelists all said that this year’s ASBMR sucked.  You may disagree with my differential diagnosis as to why it sucked, laid out below (and you’d be wrong wrong wrong), but the fact remains: only the meeting organizers actually believe that this was a worthy effort.  But for those of you with an open mind, please see what I said after the ASBMR 2008 meeting in Montreal.  By a twist of fate, I attended that one and the next day the ECTRIMS/ACTRIMS meeting took place in the same venue.  What a difference between how the Boners and the MS’ers view the corporate world!

 

 

Evaluation of ASBMR 2011

 

  • The ASBMR 2011 meeting was disappointing because less clinically relevant findings were presented than attendees have come to expect.

 

“Your last question was amount of clinical data presented compared to previous years.  Yeah.  This year was pretty bad.  Boring.  I didn’t think there was a lot of hot stuff on the clinical side.  And that is just a function of the stuff I care about or the drug trials and there just wasn’t anything new and exciting.  There were a whole bunch of Amgen things about ongoing safety with Prolia which I did see and I was happy about.  Some of it was highly theoretical stuff about Prolia which I thought was interesting but doesn’t help me in practice.  I think that right now we are in a little bit of decline.  I think as the sclerostin stuff comes along and as the cathepsin K stuff comes along there will be another boost of enthusiasm.  But this was sort of an off year for a lot of the clinical stuff.  We were busy arguing about vitamin D doses and calcium doses and stuff like that, which was fun but a little bit bizarre”.

 

 

 

  • This is by and large due to a lack of corporate support for ASBMR favored research.  And this is due to ASBMR’s public derision of Pharma over the past five years.  Look.  Choices have consequences.  Here’s how we compared ASBMR’s actions in the Fall of 2008 to the way that ECTRIMS/ACTRIMS handled their annual meeting.  So… today ASBMR is hurting?  That’s just “Pharma-Karma”.

 

 

 

ASBMR, Economic Reality and FRAX

 

(a.k.a. Biting Off The Invisible Hand That Feeds You)

 

  • Before each oral presentation at ASBMR 2008 there was a message slide shared by the leaders of ASBMR with the audience which (and we paraphrase) urged each ASBMR member to advocate to their governments to increase bone research funding.  This is because bone research funding is essentially drying up.  Okay, to encourage a particular course of political action is the divine right of the elected ASBMR officials.

 

  • The ASBMR as an organization has decided that pharmaceutical companies are evil and corrupt and should have NO INPUT into the choice of speakers or the topics to be discussed at INDUSTRY SPONSORED satellite symposia (a.k.a CME).  Not surprisingly to us, many pharmaceutical marketing groups have decided to no longer sponsor CME or the ASBMR itself.  This same ASBMR executive committee is now STUNNED that bone research funding has dried up.

 

  • Immediately after ASBMR 2008, in the Palais des Congres de Montreal was convened the worldwide multiple sclerosis convention, bringing together ACTRIMS, ECTRIMS and LACTRIMS.  Here, every pharmaceutical company was free to present their side of the issue, and challenge every other pharmaceutical company’s message.  And the audience, composed of smart people were allowed to judge for themselves what the data meant.  And more to the point, the leaders of these three societies PROFUSELY thanked the pharmaceutical companies who continue to pour funding into R&D for multiple sclerosis.
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