Pharmaceutical companies are so worried about losing their biggest weapon to increase sales -- direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements -- that the industry trade group made a preemptive strike yesterday.
The industry is worried about talk from Representative Henry Waxman, the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees health care issues. Waxman's no friend to the industry -- he's most famous for the Hatch-Waxman Act, which allows generic drug companies like Mylan
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America's preemptive strike is a set of voluntary guidelines including things like identifying actors if they're not actually doctors, and requiring celebrity endorsers to fess up and say whether they've actually used the product. Wonder if that'll make it hard for companies to find celebrity endorsements for Pfizer's
Will the new voluntary guidelines keep Congress at bay? Probably not. But the industry hasn't really hindered itself much. For one thing, the guidelines suggest that companies should "consider individually setting specific periods of time for education [of doctors] before launching a branded DTC campaign." That's pretty weak language, guys.
The biggest problem with a moratorium is that it's the first step in complete removal of drug ads from the airwaves. Drugmakers need those ads to get patients into the doctor's office, and without them, sales will suffer.
Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and GlaxoSmithKline are Income Investor picks. To see how dividend-paying stocks can offer both secure income and the opportunity for growth, take a free look at this newsletter with a 30-day free trial.
Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Pfizer is also an Inside Value recommendation, and the Fool owns shares of it. The Fool has a disclosure policy.