Pharma Philanthropy

In the past month, I’ve written a good deal about the reforms that are taking shape here in Washington aimed at the industry and the FDA.  One suggestion I had was for industry to start thinking ahead of the curve – anticipate some of the reforms and respond to their potential by pro actively launching new programs to address the various concerns that are going to be the target of proposed legislation.

And this week in the posting As Storm Clouds Gather, I mentioned several steps that companies might consider doing to address the increasingly hostile environment to the industry.  One of them was to do a better job of quantifying and qualifying their considerable philanthropic efforts, both as individual companies and as an industry. 

No sooner said than done apparently – two companies have announced actions on both counts.

Today Pfizer has issued a report listing all grants and charitable contributions for the first quarter.   And here is a list of the other actions taken by the company as listed in its press release today:

"Pfizer is committed to increasing transparency and disclosure of activities that relate to the public interest.

  • In 2002, Pfizer began to register its clinical trials on the public database at  http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/. The company now registers all trials in patients and has more than 800 trials registered.
  • Also in 2002, Pfizer began publicly reporting U.S. political contributions.
  • In 2004, Pfizer began publicly posting the results of its clinical trials at http://www.clinicalstudyresults.org/.
  • Starting in December 2006, the company launched a regularly updated public website, describing all compounds in its drug development pipeline and detailing their progress.
  • And in April 2007, Pfizer began reporting its FDA post-marketing commitments relating to safety, efficacy or the use of Pfizer medicines.
  • This latest transparency initiative follows a commitment Pfizer made in June 2007 to provide more information about the support it provides for groups that work to promote public health."

Smart moves all.  Especially the listing of the post-marketing commitments.  I’m still waiting for some smart reporter to do a comparative analysis of this using the FDA’s posting of post-marketing commitments data base.    The Pfizer transparency initiative should be a model for industry. 

And Abbott today issued a press release about its contribution efforts to address the situation in China and Myanmar

These are positive developments.  There need to be more of them – quickly.  And they need to be expertly communicated and even branded.  It should be a public affairs and corporate priority. 

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