Two Developments in DTC Drug Marketing

Jeanne Whalen of the Journal reports that European officials are taking a step towards allowing drug marketing:

The European Commission proposed legislation Wednesday that would let drug companies give consumers “objective and nonpromotional” information about their medicines in print and online. Currently, drug companies can’t provide any information to European consumers, except on leaflets found inside drug packaging. The legislative proposals must be approved by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers before becoming law, a process that could take years.

Meanwhile, in the US, it looks as though drug companies have agreed to largely meaningless reforms in advertising. Jonathan Rockoff and Shirley Wang of the Journal report that prescription drug marketers, represented by former congressman Billy Tauzin, have said, “…they will halt advertising that includes promoting prescription drugs for uses that the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved or using actors as physicians without saying so. The guidelines say celebrity endorsers shouldn’t say they use a drug unless they actually do.”

And here’s the big b.s:

Billy Tauzin, president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the industry trade group that issued the standards Wednesday, said the aim was to address the concerns of doctors, Congress and other critics while continuing to keep patients informed about valuable treatments.

“Our goal is to constantly look at [the ads] and see if we can improve them, so they are more informative, more educational and less promotional,” Mr. Tauzin said.

How philanthropic!