While watching 60 Minutes last Sunday, I was impressed with their piece on the artificially high pricing of pharmaceutical drugs in this country (and the simple remedy to this corporate ill). The centerpiece of the story, Pfizer’s marketing vice president, Peter Rost, impressed me as a brave and honorable man. Of course, Pfizer is going to see him a bit differently, since he’s calling them on their bullshit on national television.
Now, the New York Times is reporting Dr. Rost’s troubles at the office.
First, his employees stopped reporting to him. Then his supervisors stopped returning his calls and now he does not know whom to report to. His secretary left, he said, and he was moved to an office near Pfizer’s security department at a company building in Peapack, N.J. The latest blow came Monday, the morning after Dr. Rost, 46, appeared on a segment of “60 Minutes” on CBS about drug prices – a follow-up to his news conference on the subject last year with members of Congress and to the opinion pieces he has written for The New York Times and other newspapers. Ready, as always, to put in a full day at the office, Dr. Rost turned on his computer Monday and tried for the first time in almost two weeks to log into his Pfizer e-mail account.
“This is like being in some kind of corporate twilight zone,” Dr. Rost said in an interview yesterday. “I guess everybody’s waiting for me to get fired.”
So, why is this man putting his lucrative career in such jeopardy?
“Every day we delay, Americans die because they cannot afford life-saving drugs,” Rost said.
Pfizer responded at the time by saying that “Dr. Rost has no qualifications to speak on importation.”