Tips Links and Tidbits Newsletter

Tuesday 12th December 2006


First, I hope you’ll forgive me for being so forward as to share some good news about one of our clients and the product we created for them...’s not every week one of our jobs hits the news media!

Headline: Arts festival profit from database design
Summary: Organisers of the month-long arts and cultural fair the Sydney Festival have outsourced the production, planning and organizing platform for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) package to replace some seven disparate software applications previously in use. Computerworld:

Perth Festival are now using it as well!

Basic Computer User

Google offers PayPal competitor at no charge
Promotion aims to grab customers from rival online payment service during the busy holiday shopping season. More

Word hole exploited in zero-day attacks
"Limited attacks" are taking advantage of previously unknown security bug in word-processing program, Microsoft warns. More

Firms will need at least 12 months to test Vista
Gartner advises organisations to get cracking immediately. More

Analysis: How Vista lets Microsoft lock in users
Technology called Information Rights Management, combined with copyright law and Windows Vista, give Microsoft the tools to hold user data hostage in Office. More

Second zero-day flaw found in Word
Flaw could let attacker commandeer a PC and affects several versions of the word-processing program. More

Symantec calls for more IM archiving. More

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Advanced Computer User

From Video to DVD
Today’s tip will show you how to convert your old videotapes to DVD before they deteriorate. More

Wikipedia founder remakes Web publishing economics
SAN FRANCISCO - Free software is about to get freer. More

Optimize the Windows Server 2003 page file for increased performance More

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No cancer risk from mobile phones, on average. More

The powers that be have been trying for years to ban colloidal silver and remove it from the marketplace. Why? Because it’s the perfect natural antibiotic, and it makes virtually all drug-company manufactured antibiotics obsolete. (Shhh! It’s an underground health secret. Don’t tell anybody...)

Bacteria have no resistance to colloidal silver like they do with standard antibiotics, and colloidal silver is dirt cheap and incredibly safe compared to drugs (I’ve been saved from viral infections more than once by drinking an entire 2 oz. bottle of colloidal silver).

Now, the EPA has found a clever way to potentially regulate colloidal silver out of the market: they’ve announced they will classify the substance as a “nanotechnology pesticide" and force colloidal silver companies to prove it’s safe if they want to keep selling it.

But where is the EPA’s scrutiny of all other nanotech particles in foods, skin care products and drugs? Nowhere to be found, of course. The EPA seems to be exclusively targeting colloidal silver as the only nanotech threat to U.S. consumers, and if they pull off this stunt, they will have finally achieved the government’s longstanding goal of eliminating the competition to lucrative antibiotic drugs.

(The government protects corporations, not the public, didn’t you know?)

NewsTarget’s exclusive feature story on colloidal silver is based on interviews with one of the top health freedom attorneys in the country - a man who helped defend companies against the FDA’s attempts to outlaw the substance a few years ago.

Read the full investigative story here.

Corporate Hubris Exposed

What Went Wrong at Pfizer?
More By PETER ROST, MD December 8, 2006

Pfizer announced a few days ago that they pulled the plug on torcetrapib, because the drug had sharply increased the death rate in a 15,000 patient trial. This was the drug that was going to save Pfizer when Lipitor, Pfizer’s $14 billion blockbuster anti-cholesterol medicine, goes off patent in 2010. To make matters worse, two days before canceling all further development, Pfizer’s CEO Jeff Kindler stated at a large meeting with 250 analysts that torcetrapib was “one of the most important developments in our generation."

During the past week newspapers and analysts and scientists have had one question on their mind: How could something like that happen to the preeminent drug company in the world? How could the CEO of this powerful drug company be caught hyping a drug that was withdrawn only days later?

As a former Vice President of Pfizer, and based on my many years working in the drug industry, I may have some clues to what really happened.

First, let’s face it. A drug company such as Pfizer does not spend $800 million on clinical trials for a new drug without very good preliminary data that indicate that this drug has the potential to save a great number of lives. But you never really know what will happen until you start large scale phase III clinical trials. Pfizer did just that, and enrolled 15,000 patients.

Then the trouble began. First they discovered that while torcetrapib appeared to increase “good cholesterol" by about 60%, which is a good thing, it also increased blood pressure, which is a bad thing.

Pfizer’s research chief, Dr. John LaMattina, was according to the New York Times, “the company’s chief booster for torcetrapib" and he clearly staked his career and scientific reputation on this new drug, in spite of the bad news.

But, according to Forbes, “some researchers had always doubted torcetrapib, some savagely. Even doctors who tested the drug said it was a big gamble. Years before Pfizer’s drug went into large-scale trials, some research suggested that drugs like it might actually do more harm than good. In particular, at least three published studies of people with gene mutations that the drug mimicked found unexpectedly higher rates of heart disease."

John LaMattina, however, determined that it was in his and Pfizer’s best interest to contradict the critics and claim that torcetrapib was "the most important new development in cardiovascular medicine in years," two days before the torcetrapib drug trial was abruptly halted.

And normally a research chief has an experienced CEO, who may not have the same personal investment in any particular drug, who can independently ask the tough questions.

Only this time Dr. LaMattina didn’t have such a boss.

Dr. LaMattina reports to Jeffrey Kindler, and Mr. Kindler has only four months experience as a drug company CEO and only five years of experience in the drug industry. And in those five years, Mr. Kindler never managed the business. He was in charge of the law department. In fact, Mr. Kindler has less experience in the drug industry than many of his product managers and sales representatives. And of course, that makes it hard to ask the tough questions.

What made matters even worse was that Jeff Kindler wanted to change how Pfizer was run. His predecessor, Dr. Hank McKinnell, had been forced out amid turmoil surrounding his compensation package and poor stock performance. Dr. McKinnell had also made himself an impopular on the Street, and minimized his contacts with analysts. Mr. Kindler was going to change all that, create a new openness, and instead ended up embarrassed.

Of course, I do believe that Mr. Kindler is doing the right thing, when it comes to openness, but such openness has to be combined with actually know-how. So when market guru Jim Cramer after this debacle wrote, “Maybe they really are a bunch of jokers at Pfizer," that certainly doesn’t bode well for this large corporation. And when Mr. Cramer piled it on the following day, saying that “there are three things Pfizer is good at" and then listed those things as, “issuing press releases, screaming at the media" and “blaming the system," then, any investor would start getting seriously concerned. It probably doesn’t help that Mr. Cramer also billed Pfizer a “$25 bond with no upside."

This development is more than a big set-back for Pfizer. It provides an unusual glimpse into a corporation caught with its pants down and its hubris exposed for the entire world to see. After all, there were plenty of warning signs, ignored by Pfizer’s present management. And there is perhaps only one person smiling right now. And that is Pfizer’s vice chairman, Karen Katen, forced out after her succession battle with Jeff Kindler. She had thirty years of experience in the drug industry.

Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Vice President of Pfizer. He became well known in 2004 when he emerged as the first drug company executive to speak out in favor of reimportation of drugs. He is the author of “The Whistleblower, Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman." See:

Nintendo Wii can ’keep you healthy’
A Wii a day keeps the doctor away, Nintendo president hopes. More

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Wireless networks health concerns have just become a little less important. More

Solar cell revolution boosts efficiency to 40 percent
Best ever sunlight to power conversion. More

Article on investments truths: Here

Interesting article describing coming debt crises in most western nations (i.e. not just the USA) and illustrating the declining availability of silver despite stable demand: Here

Review of Dale Allen Pfeiffer’s book, “Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture": Here

Some more data on why you may be feeling less than you used to and it has nothing to do with age! Here

Apocalypto - Praise for new Mel Gibson Film, Quandary for Oscar Voters Here

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