Philadelphia Inquirer

The Vioxx Verdict, Savior of Social Security
August 23, 2005

The Beginning of the End of the Pharmaceutical Industry? IN THE NEWS A Texas jury dealt Merck a painful blow, finding the drug maker liable for a Vioxx patient's death and slapping it with $253 million in damages. With about 4,200 more Vioxx lawsuits to go, the verdict was an ominous start for Merck. --Mark Gongloff The Evening Wrap The Wall Street Journal (, Aug. 19, 2005, 5:20 p.m. EDT "If you represent yourself in a court of law," the old adage goes, "you have a fool for a client." A law firm that

More Takeaway Points to Consider
June 14, 2005

* Meanwhile, Crowe should have been reassured that a Verizon emergency crew had been summoned and would be working through the night to fix things. * Consider the management style of David G. Benton, general manager of Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Hotel as described by Tom Beldon in The Philadelphia Inquirer: To Benton, the Rittenhouse's financial performance flows directly from an atmosphere in which his 289 employees are comfortable making virtually any decision that directly affects a guest and "isn't illegal, immoral or dangerous."

Famous Last Words: Big News for Direct Marketers?
December 1, 2004

From The Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 20, 2004: Hospitals Get Tough With Drug Firm Reps By Fawn Vrazo Inquirer Staff Writer The several dozen drug company reps gathered yesterday at a Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania auditorium weren’t there to pitch drugs. They were trying to persuade the Penn system not to pitch them out. Like other health-system leaders unhappy with practices of drug representatives, Penn officials are considering banning them from talking to doctors at their three hospitals. Drug company freebies such as pens, notepads and the pink cookies marking breast cancer awareness month might be outlawed. “Even token items,” said P.J. Brennan,

Famous Last Words: Falling on Deaf Eyes
July 1, 2004

I read seven newspapers a day. Two of them—The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal—are consumed in hard copy over coffee in the early morning. The other five—The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Guardian, Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post—are scanned on the Internet along with regular visits to AOL’s news page and Matt Drudge’s deliciously scurrilous Web site ( One morning, when things were going particularly badly in Iraq and former NFL star Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, I saw a Web ad for John Kerry in The Times and sent him $500 charged to my American Express

The General Contractor
December 1, 2003

By Alicia Orr Suman If you want to reach a general contractor, chances are you won't find him in his office. In all likelihood, he's working out of his truck. That's the busy nature of the business—especially right now; home construction is at its highest level in 17 years, according to an article titled "Building the Perfect Career" in The Philadelphia Inquirer in October. The recent home-building and home-remodeling boom means general contractors are making money. It also means they're spending a good deal—on items from tools and equipment, lumber, and other supplies to office products and computers. To sell to this market,

The Yin and Yang of American Consumers
September 1, 2002

By Denny Hatch A guy I know bought two Fedders air conditioning units and a VCR from American Appliance, an independent discount appliance chain in my area. One of the machines didn't work, and he phoned the store. The line was perpetually busy. He went to the store during regular hours and was told the store was closed. "When will it be open?" "I am telling you, the store is closed," was the reply. It turns out GE Capital called in its markers, and the 33-year-old, privately held American Appliance instantly shut all 24 stores and fired its 700 employees. For The Philadelphia Inquirer

Famous Last Words
August 1, 2001

By Denny Hatch The Color of Her Underwear I get the sense that U.S. direct marketers find the European Union's paranoia over privacy and the highly restrictive, bureaucratic rules over what data can and cannot be used for to be a monumental nuisance that gets in the way of doing business. However, the European fear of privacy loss is very real, harking back to Germany in the 1930s and the Nazi persecution of Jews and gypsies. Despite the fact that we saved their bacon in World War II, Europe has every reason to distrust American technology. Edwin Black's new book, "IBM and the

On Target-Everything Old is New Again
June 1, 2001

By Alicia Orr Suman HAVE YOU BEEN TO A MALL LATELY? Check out the fashions sported by the teenage girls: In their low-slung jeans and halter tops, they look like flashbacks to the 1970s. Walk into the music store, and they're promoting the Beatles' album (which, by the way, my 5-year-old daughter thinks is "cool"). I thought I was alone in noticing this 1960s-1970s redux. Then I read a column by Karen Heller in The Philadelphia Inquirer's Sunday Magazine last weekend about the state of fashion, music and popular culture today. Basically, it said that there's nothing new. Everything's been recycled—a throwback to the