Editor's Corner

In a sign of the times, PhRMA's new steps toward a self-administered dose of restraint in handling drug promotions for newly approved products was drawing fire from consumer groups as soon as it appeared. The knee-jerk response is understandable; PhRMA has spent huge sums of money buying influence in Washington, DC, and anything it stands for is almost instantly afforded evil intent. But this initiative deserves a chance. Just a recognition that a better job needs to be done educating docs and consumers about pharmaceuticals is a step in the right direction -- even if it comes after a solid year of horror stories. Big pharma is as addicted to quick profits as any business. But big pharma isn't selling new clothes; its marketing pushes can do real, permanent harm. The new focus on drug advertising is healthy for all concerned, and a more humble industry may produce more responsible marketing campaigns.- John Carroll