GSK Takes Dow Jones to Task - on Its Blog

Last Updated Nov 17, 2009 5:44 PM EST

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has used its blog, More Than Medicine, to "correct" a Dow Jones Newswire story that claims the company refused to sell Teva (TEVA) a supply of Promacta so that it could begin generic production -- a move that might be regarded as anticompetitive by the FTC.

In the grand scheme of things, a blog insisting on a correction is small potatoes indeed. However, this is the world of pharma, which has been slow to adopt new media. (The industry is still asking FDA's permission to use bulletin boards, for instance.) In the pharmaceutical business, any company that uses a blog to bash a naysayer is a company that is out there on the edge.

Dow Jones reported:

Glaxo has refused to supply Promacta to a top generics maker, Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd., saying Teva isn't an authorized recipient under the program.
And GSK responded, on its blog:
we have offered in writing to sell the medicines and have outlined the steps necessary--primarily confirmation that FDA would allow the sale and approve the generic company's planned research.
... The characterization ["refuse"] does not fit this situation and the Dow Jones story did not accurately report our position.
Take that, reporter Jared A. Favole!

GSK is one of only three Big Pharma companies that maintain blogs (AstraZeneca (AZN) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) are the other two). The majority of their content is anodyne and often boring. Companies have yet to learn that their blogs only become widely read once they become assertive and controversial.

I can only remember one other incident in which a company used its blog to suggest it was getting a raw deal, and that's this gentle chiding of the Washington Post by J&J's JNJBTW blog. (The Post's crime? Calling J&J's blog "self congratulatory.")

So, welcome to the blogosphere, GSK. Nice to see you with your gloves off.