News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Watchdog gives spoof awards for aggressive marketing of drugs

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 04 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1050
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. London

    The lobbying group of the US drug industry, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), last week won two spoof awards from a watchdog that tracks aggressive and misleading marketing by the industry.

    PhRMA led the field in the second annual Bitter Pill awards, winning prizes in two categories from the Prescription Access Litigation Project, a national umbrella organisation of 118 consumer health advocacy groups.

    Aggressive marketing is driving up health costs and encouraging patients to take drugs they do not need, argued Jerry Avorn, a professor at Harvard Medical School and one of the organisers of the awards. “As a physician I have seen how the avalanche of direct to consumer drug advertising infects the doctor-patient relationship,” he said.

    The first of the two awards was for the organisation's guidelines on direct to consumer advertising, which the consumer pressure group claimed were ineffective, not least …

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