Nice Times for Pharma Flacks

Prescription pillsThe New York Times today published an op-ed piece blasting research that tests the comparative effectiveness of pharmaceuticals. The piece failed to mention that its author, Peter Pitts, is a senior vice president at the PR firm of Manning, Selvage and Lee. Pitts has a history of flacking as an attack dog for the pharmaceutical industry and currently heads a pharma front group called the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. Physician Roy M. Poses of the Foundation for Integrity and Responsibility in Medicine has written a critique of the "slippery slope" rhetoric in Pitts' editorial. "It is disappointing that a newspaper as influential as the New York Times would publish a health policy article without disclosing all the author's relevant financial interests, particularly one so relevant and direct," Poses adds. "Fostering more stealth health policy advocacy in ever more influential venues will just make the already confusing clamor about health care and its reform even muddier."