In 2005, PhRMA created a set of DTC Guidelines for industry putting forth a number of principles by which signatories would abide in fashioning direct-to-consumer ads. The report recently issued by PhRMA on that account leaves much to be desired.
On the PhRMA Web site, I have been unable to discern who the signatories were. If you dig on the site, you will find information about how to submit a comment regarding DTC. There is a DTC link on the home page that takes you to another page overviewing the Guiding Principles. On that page, there is a link that is written in teeny tiny print asking if you want to submit a commnet. Nor, is there any way for the average consumer to know that such a thing exists in the first placewhen they see a DTC ad. That is, unless they happen to go to the PhRMA Web site and view the press release announcing it, or do a search on the site – not something your average consumer is likely to do.
How a person is supposed to comment about an alleged violation of the principles is unclear since one doesn’t know who the signatories were? Are they all PhRMA members? Are we supposed to know that?
But for those who have been waiting, PhRMA did release a report last month from their Office of Accountability. If you missed it, it is because there was no press release regarding the report issued by PhRMA.
That may be because there was little news value in it. The report is primarily a quantitative accounting of how many reports were submitted pertaining to each principle outlined in the guidelines. Little qualitative information is available in the four page report.
Given the potential for a switch in Congress of at least one half of the legislature, if the industry really means to express a desire to self-regulate, a report on DTC – and the ability to submit such a report, should have more than a half-hearted effort put into it. Henry Waxman probably wouldn’t give this report the time of day. An anemic response is probably worse than none at all. This effort, judging by the report, was probably not worth a press release.