New PhRMA head admits the industry has been its own worst enemy

There's an interesting interview with Billy Tauzin, president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, in today's Boston Globe. A snip:

    ''Look, we've made some mistakes. We're not perfect. But we do an amazing job," said Billy Tauzin, president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America...The former Republican Louisiana congressman said that acknowledging its recent mistakes is the first of many steps the drug industry must take to regain the public's trust. Recent surveys indicate public confidence in drug companies is slipping.

Among the things drug companies are doing, according to Tauzin:

    drug companies will soon voluntarily publish the results of clinical trials for more drugs online at The site currently lists trial results for 65 drugs. Merck has completed 70 clinical trials involving 40,000 patients taking Vioxx, according to congressional testimony. Only two of those studies are published on the website.

    Tauzin also said the group is finalizing a voluntary code of conduct for drug advertising. It would urge companies to openly discuss drug risks, target the right patients for specific treatments, and encourage patients to have conversations with doctors about prescribed drugs.

Good luck, guys. I really want to think that the industry will do the right thing, but I tend to agree with this quote from Jeannine Kenney, a Consumers Union senior policy analyst: ''As long as the goal of these ads is sales, there is simply no way that the industry can be relied upon to self-police."

(Thanks to Debra for the pointer!)

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