Monday, February 18, 2013

How Come No One Paid Me to Blog About Auvi-Q?

The lady was a tramp...
Oh, Sanofi.

I'm so disappointed. I hear from my peeps that you flew a bunch of bloggers out to your headquarters, paid for their trip, wined and dined them...just so they'd have the opportunity to review your Auvi-QTM epinephrine injector.

Now I know what Mary Boleyn must have felt like, after giving it away to King Henry for free. Her sister held out for the Queenship and, sure enough, the king bought the Royal Cow in the end. (Of course, that story ended rather badly...but I'm sure the bloggers all got home safely with their virtue mostly intact.)

Maybe you didn't invite me because you knew I had already done my part to review the Auvi-Q. ( in August, for heaven's sake!) Maybe you didn't invite me because I don't have enough readers.

Maybe you didn't invite me because of the (shhh!!!) bitch in my name.

But see? That's exactly why I've kept the BITCH in my name, despite it being offensive to some people. It reminds me, every single day, that I'm not out to make a buck, or a name for myself. I started this column because I was simply frustrated, and the day I start pandering to corporate overlords is the day I really want to stop writing. (That's what my day job is for.) The "bitch" stops me in my tracks before I start lobbying for FARE advocacy awards. It keeps me from taking myself too seriously.

Not that your funding the bloggers' trips influenced them in any way. I'm sure it didn't. Really.

If you had flown me out, I would have told you that, for the most part, I do like it. I think my son will like it. Smaller is definitely better (not that Mary Boleyn would agree).

But — and I admit this is petty — the name is pretty stupid. "U" and "V" are just not letters that naturally go together. I keep calling this thing an "Audi-Q"...and when I search on it that way, you know what I get.

So, yeah, could have spent a little more money with the branding agency to come up with something that doesn't make me think of cool sports cars or jr. high audio-video equipment.

I also think it's tough to figure out how to carry that second dose of epinephrine. Cell phone in one back pocket, first-dose Auvi-Q in another pocket...where does the second dose go? But again, that's pretty petty.

I also think the woman who does the voiceover ar-ti-cu-lates in an an-noy-ing- way. (Petty again.)

Less petty, though, is my fear of medical device failure. The Epi-Pen is a tried and true device with 25 years of history behind it. I hope the Auvi-Q does equally well when it comes to consistently working when called on...but I'll feel better once it has a track record. Until then, I'll probably ask my son to carry both devices.

Which sort of defeats the purpose.

If you had flown me out to meet, what I most would have wanted to tell you is that people who read my blog (or ANY of the blogs where you - um - encouraged positive product reviews with your generosity) are already using auto injectors. You're preaching to the choir. I guess it's good to take market share from Mylan if you can, but it would be better to simply get more people to carry epinephrine.

Perhaps you already read my column about Slacker Moms (and Mylan's "let them eat cake" product positioning failure ) since now you're apparently getting sued by Mylan for claiming that 2/3rds of the people who should carry epinephrine simply don't. That's great that you're aware of the issue. But, as I said back in August, a cooler device and audio instructions aren't going to be the way into these people's hearts. (And Mylan...really? Meow!)

So, it's probably good you didn't blow all that money to fly me out, because I would have told you something you already knew: the concept of carrying emergency epinephrine is a tough sell. Too many people are willing to play the odds that lightning simply won't strike them.

I think it's great that we have another emergency option. But I can't help wondering what the world would look like if we had poured the money it took to develop and market this new device into research to simply cure this sucker.

It's not a zero-sum game, I know. But I just can't help but think that the $10k you guys probably spent to fly out eight or ten bloggers, just to reach people who are already on-board, is a conspicuous reminder of how much profit is at stake here.

Forgive me for hoping a cure will some day completely dry up your market.

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  1. Well said, as usual.

  2. Interesting, aren't bloggers supposed to divulge that information?

    Strange that they would pour that much money into something to solidify a market that really has no choice BUT to be on board, as you say...

  3. It has the name "Allerject " in Canada. Apparently they tried for that in the US but couldn't get it.

  4. As a blogger wishing to remain anonymous, I appreciate your candor. May anonymity be your friend to keep pointing out unpopular truths where they need to be pointed out.

  5. This is Selena Bluntzer of Amazing and Atopic. I can understand feeling left out and I really did feel that pain when thinking of those who would later find out that they were not invited, but I'm not sure why you have chosen to insult those of us who attended. ("...but I'm sure the bloggers all got home safely with their virtue mostly intact.") I also "gave up the milk for free" in August, with a post about the Auvi-Q, so we were in the same boat, in that regard. I have no idea why I was invited, and I'm sure others were invited that just could not attend that date. All this time I thought you might have been invited and just couldn't make it. If I had to venture a guess as to why you were not invited, I would think it was because you are an anonymous blogger (I believe you've mentioned before that you wish to protect your identity for your son's sake.) If you went to the summit, your identity would have been revealed and perhaps they didn't think you'd want that.

    I did also worry that some might think I am so gung-ho about the Auvi-Q, because I didn't get invited to the Mylan summit, but that's not the case, as I was invited, but could not attend. (I also wonder why you're picking on the Sanofi Summit, when Mylan had one, too, just two weeks after Sanofi's.)

    I fully support this product, not only because of the product's own merits, but also because it is the life's work of two men who have lived with the risk of anaphylaxis. It's like seeing our own children grow up (figuratively, as I have one daughter) and create a product to help others. It's their way to help the anaphylaxis community, not some money-making widget, just to generate cash. They could have become stock brokers if all they wanted was money. Instead they each went into separate fields of study, to work on something they truly believe in, that solves problems that we in the community have brought up over the years. Having met the Sanofi US team, I truly feel they have a genuine interest in helping others and bringing the Edwards twins' dreams to fruition.

    You can see in this post ( that I disclosed everything right up front. I even wrote an entire post dedicated to the summit, itself. ( I don't have ads on my page, and the small amount I generate from Amazon Associate links goes straight to FAI (now FARE). The fellow bloggers and advocates that I met at the summit all operate with integrity and are in no way "pandering to corporate overlords". Several of those in attendance also attended the Mylan summit. We were just ambassadors, taking the food allergy community's concerns straight to the makers of the drugs that can save our children's lives. We did not ask for that privilege, but we are grateful for it. I also didn't create my blog to "make a name for myself". I started my blog for the same reason that many of us start blogs in the FA community - I wanted to share information and do what I could to save someone else from making the same mistakes I made, and to share the things that nobody ever told me. I was just given my daughter's diagnosis, with no explanation of what that really meant for our life, and an EpiPen prescription that was called in over the phone. I hope that those who read my blog understand that and trust that I would never betray them by promoting something I don't truly believe in.

  6. Yes. My column was completely serious. I was devastated by not being included. And clearly the comment about your virtue being intact was also meant in a serious way.

    Really, Selena, lighten up. If you read my blog at all, you'll know much of what I post is tongue in cheek, specifically because I think food allergy advocates often take themselves WAY too seriously.

    P.S. You protest that you're not in it to "make a name for yourself"...but you still managed to get your name, blog name, and blog link in there.

  7. ahhh Bloggers. the ultimate attention whores of the internet.

  8. I do have an explanation for "why this was called Auvi-Q". It stands for "Audio Visual Cues". When I say the long name, it's easier for me to say or spell the nickname.

    I too like the size and the talking voice guide. I have concerns that the device will not be recognized for what it is in the event of an emergency. Hopefully that will come with time and branding. In the meantime, I've been showing mine to our school nurses, neighbors and friends so they know what it is.

    I'm also counting the days until we no longer need any form of epi injector because we've finally CURED food allergies.

  9. University of Cambridge study shows new peanut allergy treatment works : - Don't hold you breath, the "Pharma Boys" will make the usual noise and run a 'Danger/Fear campaign' to protect their multi-billion $ market.Funding for development and further studies will mysteriously dry up, much like the Cancer industry.

  10. The study you cited is from 2011. I'm not sure what's different about that Cambridge study than the other OIT trials that have been going on for years. Those trials also had some success, but later some kids would suddenly lose tolerance, especially if they missed a dose.

    I hate to be a downer, but I don't think the rejection of this therapy has much to do with Big Pharma skepticism.


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