Pfizer restructures DTC drug advertising campaigns

Pfizer says it will delay advertising new drugs for at least six months as it seeks to focus first on educating doctors. The world's biggest drug company says it may also outline alternative therapy, such as diet and exercise, when it is appropriate and carefully spell out risk and benefit information. Pfizer says it will also carefully target DTC ads to the right audience. The move comes fast on the heels of a new initiative by PhRMA to adopt voluntary controls on direct-to-consumer advertising -- a $4 billion business. Other companies like Eli Lilly have also offered various limits to DTC advertising, with Bristol-Myers Squibb vowing to forego a public campaign for the first year of marketing.

"Our advertising is meant to do two things. We want people to be aware of serious medical conditions and our medicines that treat those conditions, and we want to motivate them to talk to their doctors," said Pfizer US Pharmaceuticals President Pat Kelly. "We believe it's our responsibility to communicate this information effectively so patients can work with their healthcare providers to make informed decisions about their health and get appropriately diagnosed and treated."

- read this press release for more

PLUS: The new head of the FDA said that PhRMA's voluntary ad guidelines might prove helpful, but that more may also need to be done. Story