PhRMA's new DTC ad guidelines have been released and quickly panned by industry critics. The new guidelines -- pieced together after a growing chorus of complaints highlighted how drug advertising has spurred inappropriate use and higher costs -- amount to little more than suggestions on how a drug company should conduct itself when putting together a campaign. An initiative in Congress calling for a two-year ban on ads for new drugs was countered by an industry suggestion that an "appropriate" amount of time elapse between a drug's approval and a consumer ad campaign. PhRMA President Billy Tauzin has called the suggestion of mandatory restrictions on drug advertising a "human rights abuse."
A host of big drug companies, including Merck and AstraZeneca, immediately applauded the new, voluntary approach, often vowing to continue policies already in place.
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PLUS: Ad execs say it's too soon to say what, if any, effect the new guidelines will have on the drug industry's $4 billion annual ad buy. Story