Dec 172009

Since my address is posted on the blog I get a fair amount of unsolicited email from the MS drug companies. An interesting one came in on Tuesday that I thought bore comment. Serono has setup a new website
How I fight MS
. The premise seems simple enough; five MS’ers telling of their struggle with MS via video, blog entries, and their personal story. There are many things about this site that left me uncomfortable and asking questions.

Other than being the white face of MS they took four existing female MS bloggers and then a “token” male (because there are males with MS too!). Why are the posts so short? These bloggers tend to write decently long pieces about various things. Did Serono mandate the length or did they cut it? Certainly a unifying theme too. Based on the content, that Serono is overseeing, it seems to build hope, confidence, and reassure. The content almost seems whitewashed.

When I saw the a couple of the videos my thought was that these were professionally made. My suspensions were confirmed. My other thought was that they are also getting paid, which was also confirmed by Julie’s statement “My Paid Blogging Gig (And, no, they don’t pay me to pimp their drugs)” and her reply in the comments. I applaud Julie’s optimism. Let’s do a quick marketing 101 course. Serono certainly wants to appear altruistic but they are in the business of selling drugs, and in the case of MS very expensive ones. If they get real MS’ers to speak on their site the MS’ers image and creditability get shared with Serono. That helps them sell expensive drugs. That is also why they are very interested in the content of the messages; probably mostly so the site will attract their target audience. Julie, you are getting paid to pimp their image which really is pimping their drugs.

For a low budget marketing endeavor I think Serono picked an excellent group of people that will help them significantly. Julie was optimistic and rejected Herrad’s comment that she lost integrity, though he later recanted. I agree that you compromise your integrity when you accept money especially from a drug company even if you were naive as to their true intentions. Money had to be the motivator, especially for the ones with blogs. They were already doing everything but video on their blog; if they wanted to do video that is something that could be done on their blog on their terms (and for minimal cost if they needed a webcam). I do wonder how much money they got for doing the bit, money that will cost you your integrity.

After all of that I will conclude by saying I too would be a shill if the right size bag of money came upon my door. Heck I could probably even be a shill for Mannatech, but that would have to be two very large bags of money. 😉

Dec 152009

Dune Sea Garrison MS Walk 2009

In reviewing some of my old posts I came across this one where stormtroopers were raising money for MS. I had to go back and check their status to see if they are still participating in the walk; and yes the Dune Sea Garrison is still doing the MS Walk each year. Pretty cool, or maybe not for them. I still agree with mdmhvonpa’s comment about the heat. It is hot walking in Texas without heavy total body stormtrooper gear; I can not imagine doing it in Arizona. Now I have to wonder where Star Garrison was for my Texas MS walks. If Star Garrison had been here I definitely would have changed my allegiance to the Empire and probably thrown some Trekkies under the bus for good measure. 😉

Dec 132009

With a couple recent comments about the MP it had me thinking about that treatment option again. Certainly the recent comments were very optimistic as were some of my own old comments on the protocol. My thinking has changed over time and the Marshall Protocol now seems like a bad idea. As I recall the protocol is against D2 and D3. It does not seem rational to me that your body would make something harmful to itself, D3, that would inhibit immune response. Even if 1,25-D could remain at an acceptable level with D3 at zero, which seems unlikely, it still seems like a bad idea. Is it not hubris to call something non-essential if you do not know its full purpose?

On a somewhat related note I got the results from my annual physical and my vitamin D levels are low. The doctor prescribed 50,000 IU once a week to get the levels back up. I probably should be taking a daily vitamin D. I guess too bad I was not doing the Marshall Protocol since I was in the process of dropping my D levels all by myself. 🙁