FDA Issues Advertising Warning to Pharmaceutical Companies
May 20, 2001
Makers of anti-HIV medications recently received a warning letter from the Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The letter addressed the tone of advertisements for anti-HIV medications. The FDA expressed concern that marketing directed at consumers of anti-HIV drugs downplayed the limitations of the medications.
The letter pointed out that the ads should not imply that medications are a cure for AIDS, and should also emphasize that they do not stop transmission of HIV. Companies were also discouraged from using images that were not representative of people living with HIV, such as "robust individuals engaged in strenuous physical activity." In addition, the advertisements were criticized for minimizing the side effects of the medications and failing to mention that not every person will respond to treatment. All eight companies that currently market anti-HIV medications received the warning: Abbott Laboratories, Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Boehringer Ingelheim Corp., Bristol-Myers Squibb, DuPont Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc. and Merck & Co. The letter indicated that the companies had 90 days to change the marketing and asked them to respond by May 18, 2001, with a plan of how and when they would make those changes.
This article was provided by Seattle Treatment Education Project. It is a part of the publication STEP Ezine.