Telling It Like It Is

The director of external relations for Procter & Gamble, Mark Chakravarty, recently told a UK healthcare PR conference that the drug industry is less than popular with the public. "There is a high suspicion of the pharma industry. Greed, dishonesty and fraud are some of its associations. The clinical trial press this week and an increased number of drug scandals add to this image," he said. David Lewis, the corporate affairs director of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, was less worried. "The industry is not as badly perceived as it thinks it is," he said. The same week, the CEO of the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Professor Kent Woods, stated that GlaxoSmithKline "could and should have reported" information that patients under 18 had a higher risk of suicidal behavior if prescribed the antidepressant Seroxat compared to a placebo.