PhRMA Launches Advertising Campaign To Improve Public Image
More than 10 major drug companies have partnered with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America to launch a preliminary advertising campaign in five U.S. markets to improve the industry's public image, the Chicago Tribune reports. The 30-second television ads are intended to "turn the tide of public opinion" about drug companies and garner support for a Medicare prescription drug benefit bill that would not allow reimportation of U.S.-made drugs, according to the Tribune. Developed by advertising agency Sawyer Miller, the ads feature scenes of people of all ages while a narrator says, "Someday, Alzheimer's will be forgotten. Obesity will only be remembered in museums. Someday, cancer will be in permanent remission. Someday, hard-to-get medicines will be within everyone's reach. ... America's Pharmaceutical Companies. Well Into the Future." Although the campaign's cost has not been disclosed, it is believed that the pilot run will cost $5 million, and PhRMA may pay as much as $30 million if the campaign is expanded nationwide, the Tribune reports. Although the trade group has spent "almost nothing" on consumer ads this year, in past years it has spent between $20 million and $40 million, according to the Tribune. Catherine Babington, vice president of investor relations and public affairs at Abbott Laboratories, one of the companies involved with the ads, said, "It is important in the current debate, which is largely focused on the price of drugs, to ensure people are mindful of the importance and value of pharmaceutical innovation in their lives." Jeff Trewhitt, spokesperson for PhRMA, said, "It's very important that the innovation story be told. It's a crucial period of time as we ponder access and coverage" (Kirk/Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 9/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.