Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The war on drug advertising

USAToday looks at how the FDA regulates pharmaceutical advertising. I had to grab a binky and hold on to my security blanket really tight because it was so scary.

But then there's stuff like this: "most complaints come from rival drugmakers."

And this: "Drugmakers often voluntarily give the FDA promotional materials before they run, so the FDA can raise red flags. That precaution doesn't necessarily prevent later citations. The FDA may take so long to review a promotion that the companies, for competitive reasons, don't wait. Or the FDA may pass a promotion only to have another drugmaker point out a problem later."

Even when given the chance to prevent misleading claims beforehand, the FDA can't do it. So why would the USAToday write that "lawmakers, consumer advocates and even former FDA officials say the FDA needs more resolve and resources" -- especially if it's the drug industry itself that catches questionable claims? Seems like the FDA is most effective in the role of an after-the-fact wrist slapper. Which is what it's doing. Which means things are working. Unless I'm wrong.

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