Monday, April 26, 2010

Good By Mike! (Canary in the Mine?)

I learned this week that Mike Huckman of CNBC and Pharma’s Market ( ) is leaving for a PR firm. His last day is May 7th. I’ve always enjoyed reading his blog which set a very high standard and was always topical. Unfortunately, since his blog is part of a corporate website, we probably won’t see his past blogs much longer. I encourage readers to check out his blog before it disappears. Mike, good luck and thank you for all your past journalistic contributions!

OK, now, what’s on with my aside about Mike being a canary in the mine? In the old days, really old, like before black and white television without remotes, coal miners would take canaries with them into the mines to give early warning about the buildup of dangerous gases. Canary falls over dead, miners skedaddle, you get the idea.

Don’t worry. I’m not suggesting that anything that drastic is going to happen to Mike. But, what I am suggesting is that when a journalist of his caliber who has been covering the pharmaceuticals industry for the last several years for a major media outlet to go into another line of work, you have to ask yourself what’s going on.

Lately, I’ve been blogging about the lack of momentum and direction in Big Pharma. Mike’s departure seems to me to be yet another sign of an industry in trouble. (No, I’m not talking about the media industry. I don’t cover that. For more on that industry, check out Julia Boorstin’s Media Money blog ( ) on CNBC.) Mike covered an important industry for a major news network. Now, he’s going off to join the corporate rat race. (Yes, I know that CNBC has its own corporate rat race but you get the idea.) There may be a replacement but somehow I suspect that it’ll be a young wannabe on a part time basis.

Less newsprint, no new products, declining revenues and profits, and no drama don’t make for a good situation for Big Pharma. The auto industry is in a lot of trouble but everyone wants to know what will happen next at General Motors. Will the Chinese, or won’t they, buy Hummer? Will Toyota survive? Soap operas are made of this stuff. Ratings will thrive. Phil LeBeau (Behind the Wheel ( ) at CNBC) won’t be leaving anytime soon. Big Pharma lacks that kind of plotline.

I’m starting to feel a little lonely out here. To say nothing of trying to divine where this industry is going. But, I enjoy this and Big Pharma is certainly a challenging assignment. Good luck to Mike and everyone else out there covering life sciences!

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you.

Contributed by Guy de Lastin

No comments: