Editor's Corner

Pfizer's well-considered decision to halt all DTC ads for at least six months after product approval -- along with a commitment to do a better job in providing consumers better information about a drug -- helps provide a useful model for other drug companies to follow as they determine how to respond to PhRMA's voluntary guidelines on the issue. But Pfizer's position also helps underscore why voluntary guidelines aren't going to work for the industry. If Pfizer chooses a six-month delay, GlaxoSmithKline opts for a year, and others won't agree to any required delay at all, what we end up with is a hodgepodge of conflicting standards and rationales. It would be infinitely better to adopt reasonable, rational guidelines that the industry could live with and consumers would benefit by. PhRMA's role here is to prevent the industry from looking like the gang that couldn't shoot straight -- not encourage it to act in such an awkward, conflicting fashion. Once you recognize something needs to be done, it's important to clarify how it's done properly. - John Carroll

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