Liz (CCFA copywriter): Hey, Rodger, I need some help recruiting people for this new medication, Viza . . .ma . . .bob--
Rodger (CCFA CEO): That's Visilizumab. Please be respectful, they are donating a lot of money to the organization.
[Liz ignores Rodger's comment]
Liz: I'm writing a web page to help recruit test subjects for this drug, but the drug is pretty nasty. They give you an intravenous injection which makes you feel like you have the flu. Right after the injection, they give everyone 1000mg Tylenol. Many people are also given Benadryl and Ondansetron--which is used to prevent nausea after chemotherapy.
Rodger: That sounds unusual . . . the Tylenol.
Liz: It's right here, in the consent form that test subjects have to sign.
Rodger: Ok, let's put a postive spin on it. Do you have someone to profile for this piece?
Liz: I interviewed a couple of people, listen to this one:
Rodger: That one's terrible, we don't want to create a bad impression for our sponsor. Have you talked to anyone else?
Liz: Another woman was much better, I have my interview notes right here. No joint locks or anything. But even with the Tylenol she had chills and started puking.
Rodger: We don't want to make it so bad, but let's be honest. How about this:
[Liz types into her computer]
Liz: Got it. Doesn't sound so bad.
Rodger: Is that all?
Liz: Well, no. I mean this medication is similar to Humira or Remicade--it suppresses the entire immune system and may lead to serious, if not life-threatening, infections.
Rodger: These people are already running to the crapper 10 times a day anyway. How much worse can it get?
Liz: Yeah, but this is major. It's not only the infections. This drug has been used for organ transplants and after treatment those people have shown a high incidence of malignant tumors. Test subjects have to acknowledge that in the consent form:
Rodger: Tumor. Shumer. You don't need to include that. We're not re-writing the consent form here. We're writing recruitment literature. Tell me what you need.
Liz: Ok, the consent form says:
Why would anyone try the drug if there's no likely benefit and all these side effects?
Rodger: Hmm. Like I said before, these people feel so miserable that even if they're less sick it's sometimes an improvement. Let me see your notes . . . ok . . . how's this:
Liz: That seems a bit misleading.
Rodger: Did you get it?
Liz: Got it. You're good. Got any more.
Rodger: I don't have to do anything. From your notes, it says:
Liz: Rodger, you make it sound like a miracle drug. But the statistics aren't so good:
That's why they give the Tylenol, Benadryl, and Ondansetron.
Rodger: Hey, do you want to grab lunch?
Liz: Sure, I'm starved. Oh, Rodger, we got another e-mail from those diet people.
Rodger: Are they giving us any money?
Rodger: Are they going to give us six digit salaries so we afford to live in NYC?
[Rodger made a bit less than $300,000 in 2003, later figures are not available. source: www.guidestar.org]
Rodger: So did you delete the e-mail?