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EFPIA against TV advertising for medicines

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) does not support the use of mass media for the promotion and marketing of medicines in the EU it has announced.

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) does not support the use of mass media for the promotion and marketing of medicines in the EU it has announced.

Despite welcoming the EU Commission's plans to reform roles on the provision of information to patients, the EFPIA does not believe prescription medicines should be advertised through print media, radio or TV outlets.

The association agrees with the recommendations of the Commission's public consultation on a future legal proposal on information to patients, but is concerned that the proposed model might not fully redress the current shortcomings in European information dissemination.

Arthur Higgins, president of the EFPIA and chief executive officer of Bayer Healthcare AG, said: "EFPIA has repeatedly stated that the industry is not advocating direct-to-consumer advertising as a suitable model for Europe and therefore is of the opinion that such mass media would not be appropriate means for the industry to communicate information on specific prescription medicines to European citizens."

Current proposals and consultations were instigated after a report to the Commission revealed that there is significant inequality in medicinal information available to EU citizens. Such a disparity in medicines and health information provisions can lead to patients making uniformed choices about required treatments that consequently have a negative affect on the health of the EU population.

EFPIA has proposed that unsolicited information about health, disease and medicines should be made available to EU citizens without the mention of specific medicines. It did, however, recommend that companies should be allowed to respond to patient's enquiries by publishing medicinal information on their websites.

Dr Alessandro Banchi, who is responsible for information to patients on EFPIA's board and chief executive officer of Boehringer Ingelheim, said: "Many Europeans are still disadvantaged in accessing health information they need. We believe that the industry has a legitimate role and the responsibility to provide non-promotional information on its medicines to patients and thus should be recognised as a valuable high quality information source among others."

7th April 2008

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