When you think about literary classics, titles like The Iliad and Odyssey or War and Peace come to mind. When you think about famous poets – I’m guessing you ponder names like Shakespeare, Longfellow or Poe. And when you think about pharmaceutical news and comment the first writer that comes to EVERYONE’S mind is Ed Silverman at Pharmalot.
I’ve been a long-time reader of Silverman’s articles under the blogging banner of Pharmalot. Those who wanted to know DAILY what was going on in the areas of pharmaceutical marketing, business developments or industry trends would travel like me over to Ed’s insightful posts and read virtually everything that flowed from his pen for our reading pleasure. What I liked most about Pharmalot was his tone and style. You felt like he was sitting there across from you sharing the results of his study and research while you drank your morning coffee.
When I heard that his Pharmalot was closing shop (read more about that HERE, or HERE, or HERE) I couldn’t have been more disappointed. I reached out to Ed and was genuinely grateful to hear about his willingness to answer a few questions for myself and my readers here at The Honest Apothecary. So, grab that cup of coffee I mentioned earlier. Sit back and let’s chat with Ed about his work with Pharmalot and what might be coming next.
1) Ed, thanks so much for your willingness to chat with me here on my blog. Could you tell us a little about your own education and career prior to the start of Pharmalot?
I have an undergrad degree in accounting and a masters in journalism from NYU. I’ve been a business writer my entire career and began covering pharma when I landed at The Star-Ledger of NJ in 1995. Pharma has always been a huge economic driver in the state, so it was always a big story to track.
2) How exactly did Pharmalot get started? How long have you been writing online?
As the Internet began encroaching on newspapers, the Ledger and its owner were looking for web site ideas and so I suggested one that would track pharma. That was in 2006 and it took about a year to marinate before launching in January 2007, which was when I began life online.
3) I’m sure regular readers of your posts, like myself, wonder how it is you are capable of producing so much well-researched content every day. How did you do it? How many hours per day were you putting into your writing?
I read a lot and I read constantly. And like any journalist, I talk to folks, or at least exchange emails. Plus, I’ve had the advantage of covering pharma for a dozen years before the site began, so I was pretty familiar with the subject matter. But yes, it still required a lot of time – generally, 12 hours a day, on average, not including a part of the weekend.
4) Staying on the cutting edge of what is happening in Pharma is no small task. Can you tell me a little about your method for keeping on top of everything that is going on?
The best way is to read a lot – cast a wide net and pay attention to everything that has to do with pharmaceuticals. Its all inter-related – health policy, finance, science, international trade. As to procedure, I subscribe to lots of things via email and get on the right lists and develop sources.
5) Would you be willing to share what you feel were the best, and the worst, moments in your years of producing Pharmalot?
One of my most enjoyable moments was a story about a former Pfizer exec getting the okay to commute to work in midtown Manhattan by corporate helicopter from home in Maryland and how the former ceo tried to justify this decision. Didn’t sit well with many folks inside the company, let alone outside. Worst moment? When really cool stuff would get leaked to the NY Times or WSJ by folks in Washington and it was a topic I’d been following closely. But that’s the nature of the biz. You get used to it and get up each day and fight again.
6) Ed, many of us were saddened to hear that Pharmalot is done. What happened?
UBM made a corporate decision to discontinue several pharma titles and I just got caught up in that.
7) What do you see as the next step in your career and can we expect to find your writing online again soon?
Obviously, I enjoy covering pharma and plan to continue doing that. I won’t disappear and I’m sure my byline will appear again soon enough.
No, Ed won’t disappear I’m sure. At least we hope not. In the meantime join me in thanking Ed for this tenacious and engaging journalism related to the pharmaceutical industry. We appreciate your work and hope to be reading it again shortly!
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