Letters to the Editor
PhRMA's New Rules
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 20 page 26-26

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has announced that it has revised its conduct code for interacting with health care professionals [see Conflict-of-Interest Policies Vary on Where Line Should Be Drawn]. Starting January 1, sales representatives will have to stop giving free gifts and luncheons under certain conditions because of the perception that they might influence health care professionals' choice of prescription medications.

If the intention is to eliminate PhRMA's influence on health care professionals' prescription choice, then this is an opportunity for us to ask for an end to direct-to-consumer advertisements. These ads are becoming very common in all media. The high frequency increases the likelihood of their exposure to both patients and health care professionals, potentially making these ads more influential than a pen or a coffee mug. In addition, these ads usually provide limited information, paint too rosy a picture to our patients, and may be inaccurate or incomplete.

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