PhRMA Enhances DTC Guidelines
In an effort to clarify some advertising grey areas—testimonials, paid spokespeople, etc.—PhRMA last week updated its guidelines for consumer advertising of prescription drugs.
The voluntary principles have been updated as follows:
The new guidelines, which echo many of the changes the Federal Trade Commission made to its guidance earlier this month, will go into effect March 2.
“Whether [these guidelines] make any material difference remains to be seen,” said Peter Rost, former vp of marketing at Pfizer. “But it’s good that PhRMA is clarifying a lot of the specifics that have been in the guidelines since they were issued in 2006. I think that the principles and the goals remain the same, which is to ensure that DTC advertising is done responsibly.”
Pharmaceutical companies are not mandated to follow these guidelines, but most do so. From a policy standpoint, the PhRMA decree does not change any of FDA’s regulations, but the new guidelines could spur further, voluntary regulation. The original guidelines encouraged pharma manufacturers to submit DTC ads to FDA in advance of publication or broadcast.
“Pharmaceutical research companies for years have voluntarily exceeded regulatory requirements for direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines,” stated PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin in a release. “Our guiding principles help ensure that DTC advertising appropriately and accurately conveys important information about medical conditions, medicines, and other treatment options.”
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