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Newspaper Pitched Ad to Rival of Law Firm Skewered by Investigative Piece

Friday, September 29, 2017 | 704 | 0 | 0 min read

A Philadelphia plaintiffs’ attorney says a salesman for The Philadelphia Inquirer solicited an ad and suggested he could gain new clients fleeing a workers’ compensation claimants’ firm that was the subject of a negative investigative story.

Shanin Specter

Shanin Specter

Shanin Specter told NewsWorks, the online home of WHYY, a public radio station in the Delaware Valley, that the salesman’s pitch was “deeply offensive and vulturous.”

The Inquirer on Sunday published a front-page story on the firm Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano about its co-ownership with physicians in Workers First Pharmacy, which the newspaper reported charges exorbitant prices for drugs, many of them compounded medications, and asks physicians to refer injured workers there.

A medical ethicist told WorkCompCentral on Monday that the pharmacy arrangement was highly unethical.

Fred Groser, chief revenue and marketing officer for Philadelphia Media Network, told NewsWorks that the ad pitch was a “mistake” and that the sales representative had been disciplined.

Philadelphia Media Network owns the Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and philly.com. All three platforms ran the investigative piece.

“There was no discussion between newsroom staffers and advertising staffers,” Groser said. “And as soon as the company learned about the improper sales call, PMN informed the law firm that alerted us to the call that this would not happen again,” NewsWorks reported.

Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano issued a statement calling the investigative piece a “political hatchet job.”

“We are proud of the alliance between attorneys and the medical community that works together to protect our clients from a very strong and determined opponent: the insurance industry,” Sam Pond said.

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