Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tilting Again at the PhRMA Windmill

It's deja vu all over again! I am once again sending a complaint off to PhRMA (see my previous tilt at this windmill: "PhRMA's Response - PRwise, it Stinks!").

I've just sent a letter to PhRMA officially submitting a comment on Takeda's violation of PhRMA DTC Advertising Guideline #10: DTC television advertising that identifies a product by name should clearly state the health conditions for which the medicine is approved and the major risks associated with the medicine being advertised.

I also sent a copy to Mark Booth, the president of Takeda Pharmaceutical North America and Matt Kuhn, the Takeda spokesperson cited below. I also faxed the letter and submission form to PhRMA.

For the Record
The letters went out today by certified mail. You can see when they were delivered and who signed for them at the USPS.gov site by entering the the following tracking numbers:
  • PhRMA: 7006 2150 0003 4883 1169
  • Booth: 7006 2150 0003 4883 1183
  • Kuhn: 7006 2150 0003 4883 1190
Here's some background information:

"Rozerem Reverts to Reminder TV Ads"
"Takeda: It Isn't a Reminder Ad --- Wha!!!" -- you can find information here for sending your own comment form to PhRMA

Amusing Defense but a Dangerous Precedent
I thought Takeda's defense was amusing and sets a precedent I hope other pharma companies don't follow: "We don’t believe that they are reminder ads," said Matt Kuhn, spokesman for Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America. "Rather, they are bookends to the full ad which…opens the commercial break."

I do not believe this argument has merit. In fact, it makes a mockery of the PhRMA guidelines and worsens the industry's reputation as evidenced by several news stories and blog posts devoted to this incident.

Takeda says it adheres to those guidelines but doesn't see its use of the so-called trailer ads as a contradiction.

"If you think about the whole approach to how the brand has been marketed, we think it has been unique," Kuhn said. "And we think this a continuation of that, a somewhat unique approach."

This defense is not endearing the industry to the public and Takeda's defense must be shot down. I just hope I am not the only one speaking out against it.


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