More Rational Drug Company Behavior: Cutting Off Ads

Considering how often drug company marketing can affect the health decisions you and your physician may make, it was heartening to learn Bristol Myers-Squibb has taken the first baby step toward a more rational approach.

Commonly known for Excedrin and Pravachol, Bristol Myers-Squibb has placed a one-year moratorium on media ad buys for new drugs, the strongest so far by a drug company. More new rules the company announced:

  • Any TV advertising will be aired for appropriate audiences at appropriate times during the day.
  • Ads will explain a drug's risks and benefits in simple language.

No big surprise, marketing experts don't expect others to follow suit and the mega-pharmaceuticals chief lobbying group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), claims such restrictions won't be incorporated in its soon-to-be-released voluntary code of conduct, whatever that is supposed to be...

What's interesting about Bristol Myers-Squibb's plan: That one-year grace period for consumer drug ads is where it stops. The company will still promote new drugs to doctors as it always has, and that's where the industry still spends the bulk of their promotional dollars.

USA Today June 15, 2005

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