Want to know the full story behind those famousBob Jarvik ads for Lipitor? How about the rationale for heavily promoting Vytorin? Then tune in next Thursday May 8 to the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on direct-to-consumer advertising. It promises to be a good show.
The subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is chaired by Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat and fierce industry critic who, you may recall, launched the probe of DTC ads and, more recently, called for FDA commish Andy von Eschenbach to resign. Here's a Stupak quote: drugmakers "should know that they will be held accountable for the representations made in their ads.”
Who will be there? Folks from Pfizer, Merck, Schering-Plough and Johnson & Johnson, according to Bob Ehrlich of DTC Perspectives. The subcommittee may also hear from Kaiser Permanente, the Government Accountability Office and American Medical Association, he adds, as well as Duke University linguist Ruth Day, who lectures on the psychology of language. Hint to Pharma: Choose your words carefully next week.
"If the official title of this hearing is an indication – 'Direct -to-Consumer Advertising: Marketing, Education, or Deception?' – the mood of the Capitol Hill get-together could be tense for pharmaceutical company executives fielding the questions," Bob writes in an e-mail alert.
Indeed. And it might just make for compelling watching than some of those drug ads.