The FDA and the industry trade group the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) are poised to make their own, separate, major announcements regarding direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising.
PhRMA will release its comprehensive "Guiding Principles" on DTC advertising at a news conference in Dallas, Texas this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. E.S.T.
The voluntary guidelines will include details on the encouragement of discussion of ad campaigns between pharma companies and doctors, the targeting advertising to the appropriate age group and the balance of information about the risks and benefits in ad spots.
Meanwhile, The FDA is planning a review to examine the way the pharmaceutical industry advertises to consumers, according to an article in today's Wall Street Journal.
Citing sources with knowledge of the matter, the article stated the FDA could announce as early as today its plans to hold a public meeting to gather information and views about DTC drug ads.
The session will serve as the first formal step in setting new rules, the sources said.
The FDA's last review in 1997 led to the guidelines allowing for the surge in DTC ads. But recent safety problems with top-selling drugs like Vioxx have fueled debate over DTC advertising.
Industry spending for DTC ads was up 27 percent last year to $4.1 billion from $3 billion in 2003, according to data from TNS Media Intelligence.