A new panel, led by a prominent pharmacist, has been designed by PhRMA to provide a check on industry progress toward implementing voluntary DTC guidelines. The announcement comes months after PhRMA pledged to empanel an independent compliance review committee for its Guiding Principles on DTC ads, established last summer. The four independent reviewers, who met for the first time yesterday, will provide “transparent, unbiased analysis” of industry attempts to improve consumer promotion of Rx drugs under the principles, PhRMA President/CEO Billy Tauzin said in a statement. “I am pleased to participate in a discussion that can help DTC advertising and the [principles] live up to their potential,” lead panel member Lawrence “LB” Brown, added in a statement. The panel joins Brown with two physicians and a nurse practitioner and will review reports fielded by PhRMA’s Office of Accountability, which accepts comments from the public regarding DTC ads. It will also evaluate overall DTC trends and publish observations early next year. So far, out of 34 full-time PhRMA members, 27 companies have endorsed the voluntary principles, which became effective in January. The rules cover TV and print ads but not sponsorships or online ads. They ban TV reminder ads, urge more age appropriate placement for TV and radio spots on sensitive topics and recommend companies get FDA feedback before airing ads. But the rules stop short of setting a waiting period for advertising new products, as called for by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.