Pharmaceutical organization speaks out about guidelines on DTC ads


WASHINGTON An organization representing the pharmaceutical industry announced Wednesday that it had strengthened its guidelines on direct-to-consumer advertisements.

The guidelines, which originally took effect in January 2006, are designed to ensure that drug companies’ DTC communications are accurate, accessible and useful.

The revised guidelines, which take effect March 2, include several enhancements, including that advertisements that use actors in the roles of healthcare professionals should identify them as actors, while advertisements that use actual healthcare professionals receiving compensation for their appearances should acknowledge the compensation. It also states that print or television advertisements featuring celebrity endorsements should accurately reflect the celebrities’ opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences. Advertisements containing adult-oriented content, PhRMA said, should be placed in publications or programs “reasonably expected to draw an audience of approximately 90 percent adults.”

“Pharmaceutical research companies for years have voluntarily exceeded regulatory requirements for direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines,” PhRMA president and chief executive officer Billy Tauzin said in a statement. “Our guiding principles help ensure that DTC advertising appropriately and accurately conveys important information about medical conditions, medicines and other treatment options.”

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