Coalition Defends Right to Lie about Drugs

I just read this brief, somewhat critical article about how the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America are trying to use a recent court decision to help push the U.S. FDA to legalize drug companies promoting and advertising “off-label” and unapproved uses of their drugs. The dubious court decision essentially bypassed FDA regulations and upheld a drug sales representative’s right to mislead doctors on “free speech” grounds. Obviously, if the application of that decision is interpreted broadly, the resulting financial windfall for drug companies of being able to say virtually anything to doctors about their drugs could be huge. Rooting around for more info, I came across this obviously propagandistic opinion-editorial promotion of this idea written by John Kamp, the executive director of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication. Who is the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, I wondered. It turns out the Coalition is comprised of groups like the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of Medical Media. Indeed, Integrity in Science reports that the Coalition’s membership includes a veritable who’s who of media, advertising and marketing firms that stand to make nearly as much money from unregulated, unlimited lying as the pharmaceutical companies themselves.