Friday, August 24, 2007

Notes From A Rogue

“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”

Ecclesiastes 1:18

The landmark lawsuit that cost PG&E millions as portrayed in the movie Erin Brockovich as well as the Enron scandal taught corporations all over the world the same big lesson: shred it ALL. Except that the rogue employees who smuggled out said evidence and information set an example for rogue employees all over the world: if it incriminates, it means leverage. And leverage means power. So, get the power before it reaches the shredder. For one employee –especially a lowly Junior Research Assistant—to be able to feel powerful against an entire corporation –well, that is a sexy, sexy thing. And thank you, Mr. Timberlake, I believe I will bring sexy back.

I work for Allergan, a global specialty pharmaceutical and medical device company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative products for the ophthalmology, neurosciences, medical dermatology, medical aesthetics and other specialty markets. Headquartered in Irvine, California, if you care. You may have heard about their big stock split (symbol: AGN) on CNBC several weeks back or their innovations in the ways of biocompatible silicone breast implants. As of late the big thing is Botox®. Botox® is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It's the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning called botulism. The injection reduces the activity of the muscles that cause those frown lines between the brows to form over time –yes, these are the days when laughlines are actually frowned upon. How screwed up is that? Rich women everywhere can achieve that haute couture Stepford wives look in minutes.

As a female rogue employee of Allergan whose psychiatrist suggested journaling as therapy to get through the divorce, I once possessed the fatal flaw of having been walked on and cheated on for years, but, with help from therapy and meditation I finally grew a pair. So, I am proud to announce that I recently began cutting out the bullshit in my life – along with the worthless husband, I finally left the hypocrisy of the Catholic church for subjugating my gender and keeping me apart from the loving God they claim will strike me down for saying this —and for once in my damn life—feel powerful. This need for power is heating all aspects of my life like a stove on high to boil water. I feel it is my responsibility to disclose research notes that would counter indicate the effects of the Botox® injection, thus safety and side effects are a chief concern as it was not fully tested before FDA approval. If I leave this confidential information sitting out on the table in full view to other Allergan employees, I will be fired in a second, so until I can smuggle the report file out, this is for my own eyes only. I write this only for my own satisfaction, I guess. But I have to do it. I am obligated. I just need to plan the “attack”. Do I leak it to the media or go straight to the government? You’d think that’s like deciding which color of Jim Jones’s Kool Aid I should drink.

How do I know there are problems with the substance? In a non-technical nutshell, I was the recording researcher assigned to the project. Now, I know what shit has been going on in the news. I know that everywhere humans are dying and science fiction is becoming fact --reanimation and cannibalizing. And for a split-second there, I though God might be smiting the earth, but in the end, I attribute it to good old-fashioned human error. I know that the source of the outbreak is virtually impossible to trace, and as the subjects are hostile, the idea of further testing is bleak. Now, I’m not saying that the Botox® Initial Studies substance is the cause of this undead outbreak – I am just introducing the idea that this is a result of pharmaceutical roulette - that an undertested substance happened to be prematurely released to the public around the exact time when people began to eat...each other. The "convenience" is startling. It can’t be ruled out, but it can't be scientifically proven either. Either way, the public has a right to know.

In lab rats I tested with the Botox® injection, approximately 30 days following the injection, the rats acted increasingly violent toward one another. My supervisor attributed this to a batch of inbred rats which the lab had received from a new Utah supplier. The substance paralyzed the muscles where they should have been paralyzed. The stuff was doing what the developers hoped it would do for sagging faces everywhere. The muscle paralysis gripped and eventually faded when it should (after all, we can't have women NOT come back to buy a second round of injections). But the side effects left in its wake were eye-opening in these rats. I kept notes on the activities of these rats and on day 45 the rodents began gnawing off each other’s tender pink tails and feet to bloody stumps and infections were spreading. I went into the office of my supervisor and began to attest to problems stemming from side effects but he heard none of it, the bastard. He just condescendingly put up one hand, palm out, while still looking at his Los Angeles Times and said, “No. We have orders to keep going with this.” On day 49, he came into the lab and announced with a smile and a clap of his hands that they were going to move forward with the release of Botox® as the Christmas season was approaching and they had to get the press release over to Marketing, stat. I was really uneasy about it. So, in rogue fashion, I made a copy and filed the original report in a different cabinet under lock and key. I just need to make sure Jose the security guard temporarily turns off the lab hall and corridor cameras when I sneak back in to retrieve it. I will achieve this with the complimentary dime bag of pot (we are in California, after all). I think ----wait -----someone’s coming…will write more later.


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