[Ip-health] Pfizer targeted in elaborate April Fools' prank

Isabelle Erbacher iverbacher at gmail.com
Fri Apr 1 13:15:44 PDT 2016

Thanks for forwarding, I have been waiting for someone to do this for a
while! Does anybody by chance have the text of the press release and/or the
WP article?


On 1 April 2016 at 13:23, Robert Weissman <rweissman at citizen.org> wrote:

> http://www.fiercepharma.com/story/pfizer-targeted-elaborate-april-fools-prank/2016-04-01?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRokv67Nde%2FhmjTEU5z17%2BkkUaWwgIkz2EFye%2BLIHETpodcMS8dqML7YDBceEJhqyQJxPr3HJdQN18R7RhHnDg%3D%3D
> Pfizer targeted in elaborate April Fools' prank
> Friday, April 1, 2016 | By Eric Palmer
> Some April Fools' Day pranks are fun; others, not so much. Pfizer ($PFE<
> http://go.questexweb.com/x0M0090v1SI0QuQ0oejwdFi>) is unamused by an
> elaborate prank in which a fake press release was sent to and reported on
> by the Washington Post. The release, and the story, said the pharma giant
> was holding the lid on its drug prices.
> The Post said it "briefly" published the story on pricing Thursday based
> on the purported press release but retracted it when it determined it had
> been the victim of an elaborate prank.
> Pfizer, which has come under criticism for a practice of routinely raising
> drug prices, released a statement saying the release, which was linked to a
> fake website, should be disregarded. "Pfizer is investigating this matter
> and evaluating its legal options against the parties responsible. Pfizer is
> committed to engaging in an honest discussion and real dialogue about the
> issues that matter to patients."
> According to the Post, the perpetrator went through a lot of steps to make
> the press release appear genuine. It said that release came from an email
> address that appeared to belong to a Pfizer spokesperson. The release was
> on a website with the domain pfizerinternational.com, which the Post said
> is similar to the drugmaker's real domain, but a fake. The release included
> a phone number, which also was a fake. The phone had a message saying
> Pfizer would not be commenting on the release and callers should leave a
> voicemail.
> It is not a joke that Pfizer, along with many other drugmakers, have come
> under scrutiny for routinely raising the prices of its drugs at a time when
> there has been a public and political backlash to what consumers perceive
> as unreasonably high drug costs.
> It was widely reported that Pfizer raised the prices on more than a 100
> drugs on January 1. According to Deutsche Bank analysts, Pfizer boosted the
> list prices of dozens of meds, by 10.6% on average, with the largest
> increase for Quelicin, an anesthesia med, which went up by 42%. The
> attention is also coming at a time when Pfizer has also been highly
> criticized by government officials and some presidential candidates for its
> planned $160 billion merger with Allergan ($AGN<
> http://go.questexweb.com/o01Uu00qv00IwM9jdFQeiQ0>), a maneuver it is
> taking in large part to lower its U.S. tax bill.
> Of course pranks, by and on businesses, are part of the April Fools'
> tradition and Pfizer was not the only victim. Google today said it had
> killed its prank for this year--a Gmail feature that would prevent any
> replies to the sender of an email getting through--after reports that users
> had accidentally used the feature. There were reports that some people were
> fired from jobs for not following up on emails.
> "Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year," Google's blog said.
> ----------------------
> https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/31/pfizer-vows-to-stop-raising-the-list-prices-of-its-drugs
> This story has been removed
> By Carolyn Y. Johnson March 31 at 1:34 PM
> Washington Post
> The Washington Post briefly published on Thursday a story about Pfizer and
> drug pricing that was based on a false press release produced by an unknown
> person or group. That story has been retracted.
> The press release was circulated using an email address that appeared to
> belong to a real Pfizer spokesman, but used the domain
> pfizerinternational.com, a fake website that closely mimics Pfizer's.
> That website, which also hosted the press release, has since been taken
> down. A Post reporter called the false phone number provided for the
> spokesman before the story was published and heard a message saying the
> company would not be answering questions about the press release and left a
> voicemail.
> Pfizer spokesman Andrew Topen said that the company is investigating who
> is behind the fake website. Ownership details for the site are hidden in
> publicly available databases.
> Pfizer released a statement Thursday afternoon: "A false press release
> related to drug pricing and linking to a fake web site was anonymously
> issued earlier today. It was erroneously attributed to Pfizer and should be
> disregarded. Pfizer is investigating this matter and evaluating its legal
> options against the parties responsible. Pfizer is committed to engaging in
> an honest discussion and real dialogue about the issues that matter to
> patients."
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*Isabelle Erbacher*
UAEM Europe <http://www.uaem-europe.org/> e.V. Board Member
iverbacher at gmail.com

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