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US pharma to woo back trust

Pharmaceutical companies in the US are developing voluntary guidelines to improve advertising on television and through other media in an attempt to win back public trust, according to an industry association.

Pharmaceutical companies in the US are developing voluntary guidelines to improve advertising on television and through other media in an attempt to win back public trust, according to an industry association.

Billy Tauzin, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), said that there is “obviously room for improvement” in the way the industry operates and announced that the organisation will produce a set of advertising principles for pharma companies to follow.

Risks and benefits associated with treatments must be seriously addressed in an ad, he added. While Tauzin hopes that the principles will help to settle a number of complaints about product advertising, Consumer Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports said that voluntary promises were not enough and cast doubt over whether patients would be adequately informed as a result.

Rob Schneider, manager of the Consumer Union project to improve drug safety and prices, asked: “Can we really expect drug makers to voluntarily tell us about possible problems in these ads when they know it will hurt their sales?”

Tauzin who left Congress last year and took the helm at the PhRMA in January wants to restore the pharma industry's reputation. His appointment came under fire because he was instrumental in pushing a Medicare bill through Congress that included provisions favouring the industry.

2nd September 2008

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