Wednesday, 2 October 2013

ECTRIMS 2013: slaying the red queen

ECTRIMS has become an over the top marketing fest. #MSBlog #MSResearch

"Although I am part of the jamboree I find the marketing fest at the ECTRIMS distasteful; the extent to which each pharma company is trying to out do each other is unbelievable. Bigger stands, more staff and an increasing number of highly competitive satellite symposia. All this during a time of austerity with increasing numbers of MSers being unable to access DMTs; either they cannot afford the costs or they are not covered by medical insurance."

"We (Mouse Doctor, Alison Thomson and I) were discussing last night with one of the companies that they should have a post-it note stand with one post-it note simply stating 'We have decided to spend the money we would have spent on this stand on research and our social responsibility programme'. And another post-it note stating 'Please prescribe our drug because it works'

"As this blog had a large number of new readers (>100,000 hits last month) I will take this opportunity to remind you of the red queen effect."

"The Red Queen Effect, is a term taken from the Red Queen's race in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. The Red Queen said, 'It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.' The marketing departments of Big Pharma are simply feeding the Red Queen as they try to compete with each other; in reality they are simply running on the spot with the downside of reputational damage to the industry as a whole. When MSers see the marketing extravaganza that comes with ECTRIMS it is no wonder they don't respect us and doubt our intentions. This is one of the issues that fed the social phenomenon that underpinned the CCSVI conspiracy theory. If we don't address this issue the CCSVI phenomenon will simply recur." 

"I would like to propose that Big Pharma continues to look at itself in the mirror, rejects the Red Queen Effect and comes up with something more sustainable that will help us regain our self respect and more importantly the respect of the community that we serve. Maybe one of them will be bold enough to take up the post-it suggestion next year."

"If any you have ideas on how to go about slaying the Red Queen I would be interested in hearing them."


  1. Simply business I'm afraid and open market rules apply. Nationalise the UK industry ?

    Regards as always.

  2. Must admit I was extremely queasy on my one trip to ECTRIMS looking at all the showy pharma stands and listening to the bumptious reps boasting how much money had been spent on them.
    I won't go back.

  3. Please - no more red queens, black swans, white knights etc.

    All I want is answers to the outstanding questions about this disease and treatments that get me better (not just slow down).

    Charcot project looks hopeful. I sent to know how things are going. No hocus- pocus stuff with all these fary tale nonsense.

    1. Hocus-pocus; I like it. May be Prof. G can make some magic and cure MS.

    2. sorry you will have to suffer the white knights the black swans etc.

      we all want answers but sometimes these taketime

  4. Fight fire with fire. The power of social movement such as was seen by the concentrated CCSVI onslaught could be carefully calibrated towards the 'excess' of Big Pharma. Throw it out to OPEN IDEO as to 'How to kick Big Pharma in the bottom - sligtly better framed:) ? - and watch how the insights of others can tease a problem apart. There are many ways to skin a cat. Having exercised the power of one using a social media platform against a rich multinational company recently and winning - tactics and persistence can win out in the end. Appealiing to Big Pharma's altruism ( need a poke your tongue out emoticon here!) is unlikely to prove a viable road to slaying the Red Queen, - however this is opportune for the arrival of a Darth Vader sorte" I am altering the deal, ( Red Queen), pray I do not alter it any further".

  5. It's similar to when choosing to be vegetarian: the first step is to not participate in what you see as wrong, even if being just one person it might not make much difference. If enough individuals change, the system changes too.


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