NEWS RELEASE
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (202)588-7746
For Immediate Release: August 2nd, 2005

PhRMA’s New Ad Policy is “Craven Self-Preservation,” Says Commercial Alert

Following is a statement of Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert, about the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s new “guiding principles” on direct-to-consumer drug advertising.

“PhRMA’s new ‘guiding principles’ are utterly lacking in principle.  They are a public relations exercise that cloaks doing nothing in a stream of verbiage that sounds like doing something.  They will cause no inconvenience for the drug industry and no real change of behavior. Their aim is to shield the profits of the drug companies, not the health of Americans. Nor will they stop the fleecing of taxpayers, through excess demand for prescription drugs.  This is merely an act of craven self-preservation by an industry that has learned little from the disasters of Vioxx and Celebrex.” 

“It is obvious that this industry has learned nothing in the last year except the need for better public relations.  How many more people are going to have to die before Congress and the FDA end direct-to-consumer drug advertising?”

“The new PhRMA policy is even soft on erectile dysfunction ads.   Parents shouldn’t have to shield their children from raunchy drug ads.”

“PhRMA’s ‘guiding principles’ won’t stop rising public distaste for drug ads.  According to a 2004 FDA report, only 32% of Americans said they like seeing drug ads.   More importantly, according to a Yankelovich poll last year, 65% of Americans ‘think there should be more limits and regulations on marketing and advertising.’”

“Americans agree with Senate Majority Leader Frist that it’s time for drug companies to clean up their act.  But PhRMA’s new ‘guiding principles’ makes it clear that they won’t do it.  So, now it’s time for Congress and the FDA to step in.”

Commercial Alert is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy. For more information, see our website at: http://www.commercialalert.org.

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