Sex on the Brain Down at Hill & Knowlton

Hill & Knowlton is hustling for Procter & Gamble's new - but as yet unapproved - testosterone patch for women with claims that it can boost sexual activity by 74 percent, Ray Moynihan reports in the British Medical Journal. The claims - unsupported by peer reviewed data - are disputed by experts.


Merck Toots Its Own Horn

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


Painful PR

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.


Stifled by the Menopause Industry

"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.


Another Blow to Independent Science

"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.


Pfizer Doesn't Send Him Flowers, Anymore

"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.


Drug Ads Just Got Harder to Swallow

"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.



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