Merck's PR campaign around the Vioxx recall includes "three full-page ads in seven prominent newspapers," "several television appearances," and "testimony before Congress by the company's chief executive." But the president of a New York crisis-management firm says, "They really need some third-party endorsements
U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewer David Graham told Congress that "at least five medications now sold to consumers pose such risks that their sale should be limited or stopped." They are the weight-loss drug Meridia, anti-cholesterol drug Crestor, acne drug Accutane, painkiller Bextra and asthma treatment Serevent.
"From oral contraceptives to estrogen therapy, Barbara Seaman has been exposing pharmaceutical industry cover-ups of drug health risks for 30 years," writes Linda Nathan. In response, pharmaceutical companies have exerted influence to get her fired from three different women's magazines -- Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle, and Hadassah -- where she wrote columns criticizing their products.
"A researcher who publicly questioned the safety of Pfizer Inc.'s painkiller Bextra was removed from a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel that will review it and similar products next year," reported the Wall Street Journal.
"A lot of people cannot afford life-saving drugs. Drug re-importation provides an alternative supply at lower prices for people who cannot afford the full price," said Dr. Peter Rost, Pfizer's vice president of marketing for endocrine care and the first drug industry executive to publicly support reimporting drugs from Canada to America.
"Pharmaceutical advertising has exploded over the past decade to become the 10th-largest advertising category in the U.S. ... Last year, expenditures for prescription-drug ads jumped 24% to $3.21 billion." After Merck recalled its arthritis and pain medicine Vioxx, direct-to-consumer drug advertising is facing renewed scrutiny.