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Dow Jones reports that the pharmaceutical industry has agreed to a series of voluntary advertising guidelines, promising to submit television commercials to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval before they are broadcast and guaranteeing that risk and safety information will be presented in clear unambiguous language. The industry also is agreeing to try to educate health care professionals about new medications before advertising them directly to consumers.

The guidelines were developed by a trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, (PhRMA). The initiative is seen as one way of heading off greater government oversight and control of pharmaceutical advertising; the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the FDA plans a study of common practices to see if greater regulation is called for.
KC's View:
We have no problem with self-regulation as long as it isn’t just cosmetic. The big test will come in the fall, when the new television season starts. If the airwaves are full of pharmaceutical ads that are embarrassing to watch with our kids, we’ll begin to get the feeling that maybe the pharmaceutical biz is all hat, no cattle.