Pharmaceuticals

Drug Ads Debate Heats Up in Europe and New Zealand

A coalition of European health groups, including the International Society of Drug Bulletins and the Medicines in Europe Forum, is alarmed at a renewed campaign by the drug industry to lift the ban on direct-to-consumer advertising in Europe.

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European Drug Pushers

The drug industry is hopeful that it will succeed in watering down the European Union's ban on direct to consumer advertising (DTCA) of pharmaceuticals. Draft proposals from a working group, which includes members of the European Commission and the drug industry, have proposed a public-private partnership to provide patient "information" on prescription medicines.

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Merck Unconvincingly Clears Execs of Vioxx Wrongdoing

Although the pharmaceutical company Merck spent $21 million on a 20-month investigation led by a former U.S. district judge, the report's conclusion that "executives at Merck had not knowingly put Vioxx patients in cardiovascular danger" may not boost the drugmaker's sagging reputation. "Some critics say the report is not credible because of Merck's board's involvement" and point out that Debevoise & Plimpton, the firm whose lawyers carried out the study, has a "pro-corporate" reputation.

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Saudi Arabia's PR Firm on Drugs

PhRMA logoThe major industry lobby group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has retained Qorvis Communications "for a national PR campaign to educate the public about the good work done by drug companies and the important role they play in developing n

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Medical Journal's Spin Doctors Promote Controversial Studies

Cartoon doctorWriting on her blog "Honest Medicine," Julia Schopick points out that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) used video news releases (VNRs) to promote two studies that later proved controversial, because the authors had neglected to disclose their financ

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Pharma PR Tries to Spin Gold From Yawn

Americans may tire quickly of some pharmaceutical PR, but they've got nowhere to turn (certainly not in bed) when it comes to a new campaign sponsored by the makers of a sleep-fighting medication, Provigil. Drug-maker Cephalon hired Dorland Global Public Relations, which has spun consumers' disinterest in "sleepiness" into a Homeland Security-like campaign for "alertness." The trick: target employers.

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Drug Company SLAPP's Over Lindane For Lice

The specialty drug manufacturer Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals has filed a legal suit against the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The drug company is upset at the Center's opposition to the continued use of lindane as a fallback treatment for head lice.

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FDA Goes, Hat in Hand, To the Drug Industry

Prescription pills"Regulators usually don't negotiate their budgets with the industries they oversee," writes Anna Wilde Mathews, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does. In the early 1990s, drug companies started paying the FDA millions of dollars in user fees, to speed the drug approval process.

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