Johnson & Johnson puts risks up front

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Johnson and Johnson has brought the risks of its Orhtro Evra birth control patch to the forefront of a soon-to-be aired DTC advertisement for the Rx, amid the recent flurry of recent criticism of prescription drug ads.
On Friday, when he accepted chairmanship of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America during the group's annual meeting, J&J chief executive William Weldon previewed the company's new campaign for Ortho Evra.
According to an article in today's Wall Street Journal, the ad shows a split screen image with a female gynecologist on one side and a young woman on the other. Enthusiastic about using the patch the young woman says, "I'm in!" The gynecologist replies by saying "Let's talk," proceeding to warn about blood clots, strokes and other risks. "This patch has hormones, like the pill," she says, urging the woman not to smoke and to talk with her doctor.
Weldon urged other drug makers to follow J&J's lead.
"If our industry is to retain the important right to talk directly to consumers, each of our companies in its own way must work to make DTC what it very definitely can be – a way to educate and counsel consumers in improving their health," Weldon told the Journal.
A GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman told the newspaper, "We certainly agree that direct-to-consumer advertising should be done in a way that focuses on consumer education," explaining that the company is trying different approaches as well.
A Pfizer spokesman said in the newspaper report that the company "has been talking to patient groups, physicians and other stakeholders and is developing plans to evolve our DTC practices to improve our communication around risk."
The ads for Ortho Evra are slated to air beginning next month.
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