My 1969 World Series Watch Party — May 29, 2020

A couple of weeks ago I learned that SNY, the New York Mets’ cable network, had aired all five games of the 1969 World Series. Not being an SNY subscriber, I missed all the airings. But the ’69 Mets have been much on my mind lately, as I recently read They Said It Couldn’t Be Done, Wayne Coffey’s excellent chronicle of that championship season. I therefore searched YouTube for recordings of those games, and was delighted to find – and watch — them.

I was 10 years old in 1969, and growing up in Westport, Connecticut. I will never forget how Metsomania gripped the Tri-State region that summer and […]

May 29th, 2020|

Getting Cross Over “Across”

A client recently asked me to review and edit a draft press release, and I was struck by the overuse of the word “across.” It popped up in many instances:

  • “consistent results across multiple clinical programs”
  • “sustained results across metrics”
  • “20 patients have been dosed across three trials”
  • “patients have been followed for more than 30 months across two trials”
  • “consistent expression of proteins across the two trials”
  • “improvement across biomarkers”
  • “baseline conditions across both studies”
  • “stable disease across both trials”
  • “levels remain stable across these four patients”
  • “approach being implemented across the company’s clinical programs”


Is your head swimming yet? Does the overuse of “across” reflect a lack […]

February 12th, 2020|

Thinking About Success

Last week I came across the following quote from Bob Dylan, on the occasion of his birthday:

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”

I find comfort in the Dylan quote, primarily because it runs counter to the widespread perception of “success” as deriving from wealth or fame. The quote certainly prompted me to think about my own personal success, and about what it means to be successful as a medical writer. Although I have days when I’d rather do anything but medical writing (for example, watch baseball on […]

May 29th, 2019|

So Much for Patient-Centricity

An agency I work with recently engaged me to develop a white paper for one of their clients, a provider of a certain type of health care services (I am not at liberty to disclose the type of services nor the therapeutic area the client operates in). The agency account team had prepared a preliminary outline that included the phrase, “health care production.” That phrase had me scratching my head; I’d never heard nor seen it before.

During the project kickoff teleconference, I asked the team what the phrase meant, and they replied that their client contact had used it to describe how some high-volume clinics must process a […]

March 16th, 2018|

Channeling Joe Strummer

Toward the end of the Clash’s brilliant debut album there is the song, “Garageland,” the first line of which goes, “Back in my garage with my bullshit detector…” Apparently, Joe Strummer, who sang that song (with the accent on the first syllable of “garage,” so it rhymed with “carriage”), had a keen eye (or nose) for that aforementioned substance, and was conscientious about calling out its perpetrators. I think of poor Joe, who left us way too soon, whenever I come across meaningless, hifalutin’ writing.

A recent example: An agency client sent me a draft of a news release to edit. […]

January 17th, 2018|

I’m Kind of Sick of This

A couple of years ago I was on a conference call with one of my agency clients. Also on the call was a biopharma company that had engaged the agency for a bylined article project. I was on the call because I was to write the article on the biopharma company’s behalf. The head of the agency, an old friend of mine, had told me beforehand that the biopharma CEO would be on the call, along with a few of her colleagues, and that the CEO could be somewhat prickly.

My agency client was the host of the call, and when it started he sounded nervous. “We kind of […]

August 10th, 2017|