Drug Company Vies For Media Spotlight

While the Food and Drug Administration is hearing testimonies on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs, one pharmaceutical giant is hoping to gets its spin on drug marketing in the news. The FDA is reviewing DTC guidelines that cover the $2.7 billion that the pharmaceutical industry now spends annually on television, radio and print advertising. Since 1997, drug companies have been able to pitch their products directly to the public, raising concerns about patients demanding drugs they don't need or that are inappropriate. Taking advantages of the news hook, "Pfizer has quietly launched a proactive media-relations initiative to highlight what the company feels are the positive aspects of DTC," PR Week reports. Pfizer has sent out approximately 75 binders containing studies and "surveys from Harvard and MIT, the FDA, and the National Medical Association, as well as some 'myth versus fact sheets'" to media outlets. "It's your classic PR tactic," said Michal Fishman, director of US pharmaceuticals PR for Pfizer. "This is us saying, 'Hi, we're out here. Use us to get the whole story.'"