PhRMA draft DTC guidelines call for doctor ‘conversation’

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The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) yesterday issued its awaited set of draft guidelines on DTC advertising, a code that falls short of a moratorium on advertising following drug release and instead endorses an unspecified period of "conversation" with doctors before running ads.
Areas addressed by the guidelines include:
•Conversations with physicians prior to the launch of a new direct-to-consumer campaign.
•Targeting of TV advertisements for audience and age appropriateness.
•Promotion of health and disease awareness by companies as part of their advertising.
• Inclusion of information about assistance programs for the uninsured and low-income.
Much to the chagrin of industry critics, who have argued that physicians need a significant amount of time to understand drugs before patients request them, the draft code of time between the release of a drug and the start of advertising similar to Bristol-Myers Squibb's adoption last month of a voluntary 12-month ban on DTC advertising following product debut.
"Can we do a better job in advertising? Yes, and we will," PhRMA spokesman Ken Johnson said in a report in today's New York Post.
"But we also believe that patients have a right to know about new drugs that can improve their health and quality of life."
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