Drug Industry Embraces Human Rights ... For Ads

Mediaweek reports that new voluntary guidelines issued by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) on Direct-to-consumer advertising "contain few requirements that will add to marketers' ethical and legal burdens in creating drug ads." The guidelines, it reports "do little to go beyond a press release PhRMA issued on July 21, which merely 'encouraged' the industry to better target its audience". Nor do they contain any penalty or enforcement provisions. According to the Wall Street Journal, PhRMA's attempt to pre-empt a review of the ads by the Food and Drug Aministration seems doomed to fail. In June former Republican congressmen and now PhRMA president Billy Tauzin told Brandweek that he opposed prohibiting companies from some forms of promotion as "we're in a free speech area…to me that's a human rights abuse" if the rules were to prohibit companies from certain types of communications, he said.