Science & Medicine

Incyte Awareness…and other gala events

Blood CancerAwareness Month 

Incyte honored…Bat Signal flies over Gotham…Wall Street revels 

– Zhenya Senyak

This is the great awareness season, kicked off by Blood Cancer Awareness month.

Incyte Corporation, the moving force behind the multitude of MPN awarenesses — like last year’s MF Awareness Day and this year’s MPN Awareness Day —  is usually in the shadows.  Happily Incyte itself has now been honored!

Mark your calendar:  In a surprise announcement,  Gladys, the MPNforum glee club executive assistant, announced Noon to 1:00 ET, September 23  to be the MPN Incyte Hour.  

“I know it’s a great honor for Incyte,” she said, “but our Special CoalitIon of Random Editorial Writers and Designers consider the award well deserved. Without Incyte we might not be aware of MPNs at all. Amazingly the Corporation does all this stuff for us and gives other guys the credit. They must really care. What, you think it doesn’t take real grit to throw a party and ring a bell down on Wall Street to commemorate blood cancer awareness?”

 The question on everyone’s mind is WHY September 12

Was it Dameshek’s birthday?September 12  The date the JAK2 mutation was first discovered? Some secret kabbalist code?  

None of the above.  Our undercover investigation revealed Incyte and a loose association of nonprofit organizations (and one or two for-profit companies) simply  made it up.  The Conspiracy Crowd, however, believes it was selected because September 12, 2013 is the  seventh anniversary of the opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland.  Check it out, we couldn’t make this stuff up.

Wall Street:  Awareness…where it counts

In celebration of All This Awareness, the full weight of Incyte’s press releases descended on Incyte Bell Ring Sept 3 National media and the Daily Planet hawking the appearance of CEO Paul Friedman at Wall Street’s NASDAQ market opening earlier in the month.

Kicking off Blood Cancer Month, Dr. Friedman rang the bell to signal the opening of trading. To a loudly cheering, fist-pumping crowd, Friedman said “Incyte is committed to making a difference in the lives of patients with cancer.” 

Hearing that, some in the audience openly wept.

The stock price of Incyte rose 3/8 of a point to $34.25 for the day although MPNs and blood cancer both remained unchanged. 

I have what? WHAT?

Meanwhile, multiple e-mail blasts — the combined fundraising and PR firepower of MPN Awareness Day professionals — was directed to lists of MPN patients and caregivers.

Until then, patients were presumably unaware they had an MPN.  But, thanks to this special day, we can now confidently put a name to what’s been bothering us all these years.

There’s more. The Bat signal over Gotham.

 bat signal

In partnership with a magazine published by drug giant McKesson Corporation, Incyte launched its SUPER HERO program.   Asked why a corporation making a bundle on this disease is in any position to be selecting heroes, a company spokesperson emphatically gave no response.

The hero idea seems to go like this:  MPN Patients — now newly aware of their condition — will nominate their favorite MPN Hero. We’re instructed to mail nominations to Incyte and a blue ribbon band of judges, appointed by the drug giants. This group will judge nominees and select winners based on something or other.

White smoke coming out of the Incyte executive HQ means a Super Hero has been elected.  

Despite left wing rabble-rousing complaints, there is no issue of “voter suppression” here at all.  None. How could there be?  There’s no vote to suppress.  Incyte will award $25,000  — you know, like a 90 day supply of Jakafi, retail– in the Super Hero’s name to an MPN non-profit. Fortunately, since virtually every MPN nonprofit in North America is already the recipient of Incyte cash, mailing the check to the right address will pose no problem for the company’s mailroom. 

Plus – and here’s the best part — the Super Hero gets an authentic plaque to hang up or stash somewhere, a plaque advertising his or her heroic status in case it’s ever called into question by, say, the Joker or Robin.

And that’s not the end of the festivities, there’s more. Lots of Giveaways – brochures, talking point scripts, PR packages and plastic bracelets, – available ALL FREE from Incyte on one of its specially launched websites somewhere on the Internet. bartering trinketsI forget the name but it’s definitely called something other than Incyte. (The rumor that giveaways include beads, trinkets, awls, adzes, muskets, axes, kettles and brightly dyed cloth worth about $24 is simply not true.)

Some think all this might be Incyte’s crude attempt to win the hearts and minds of MPN patients in advance of new competing drugs but that’s just crazy talk.  Insurance cards, savings, credit cards and other negotiable instruments are objects of legitimate interest for Incyte… but hearts and minds?   

Staying the course:  Despite a loud clamor for Incyte to bring its Jakafi price down out of the $84-91,000 annual  stratosphere into a cost-effective range understood by medical insurers and residents of Planet Earth, Incyte has resolutely held the course.

Hey, you think you get to ring the NASDAQ bell and be awarded your own Hour in September by listening to a bunch of cry-baby patients? 

Meantime we anxiously await the mailman each day and check our G-mail in-box hourly.  So far there’s no actual verbal answer from Dr. Paul Friedman to the open letter signed by nearly 200 of his patients and customers.  No answer to a personal e-mail asking to open the discussion. It has to be a post office foul-up.  How can he not answer? Incyte cares, right?

Happy Rest of Blood Cancer Awareness Month.  Maybe next year when Sanofi and Gilead join the party.

Take me back to the Contents

©, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.





Comments on: "Incyte Awareness…and other gala events" (5)

  1. Karen Ulshafer said:

    I just found this in my “junk” email. What? I anxiously await these newsletters and missed this snafu. Now we are back on track. I always enjoy your sarcastic humor, Zhen. Right on, with the facts, as well. How can Dr Friedman be deaf and/or blind to our pleas or requests for price reduction? I was one of those patients who signed that letter. One voice, too tiny, I guess. By now, Incyte has made zillions, (well maybe, only billions) of dollars on this drug. so what is the concern over costs of a few bracelets and pamphlets… and they think they look like heroes doing that? Hopefully, it has opened the doors for other drug companies to attack the genetic, precision medicine for treatment….
    Thanks, Zhen , as always, and good luck!

  2. Kathy Van Meter said:

    You’ve done an awesome job as usual, Zhen. I am particularly disturbed by the “hero” part. If one way to define heroism is to “walk tall in the face of danger”, the heroes in this story are those who participated in the drug trials that resulted in Incyte’s “awareness” of the true value of an MPN. Thank you to all the heroes, living and dead.

  3. Wonderfully, sadly, sarcastically true.

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed this well-written piece of satire. Or is it? Unbelievable!

  5. Patsy Bushee said:

    I appreciate this article which “tells it like it is.” Sad that this is the case!

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