On a hat tip from PharmaGossip and a number of others, did you know that...
Four of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies are proposing to launch a television station to tell the public about their drugs, amid strenuous lobbying across Europe by the industry for an end to restrictions aimed at protecting patients.
Say what? Yup, the UK Guardian is calling it "the shopping channel run by drug firms." And the fantastic four would be Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Novartis and Procter & Gamble.
Seriously, these companies have created a 10-minute pilot DVD featuring a white-coated doctor discussing breast cancer and a woman patient who reassures viewers that "there are many new treatments available." As big as it is, I'm sure there will be a lot of content addressing diabetes as well.
And the timing is amazing, too. This program is being offered to the European Commission -- "as a way to give patients more information" -- just as the commission is considering easing its current regulations that ban all direct-to-consumer advertising of medicinal drugs. Of course, here in the US, we already get ad-blitzed with everything from Lamisil to Celebrex.
The new channel proposes to be a little more academic: "Pharma TV would be a dedicated interactive digital channel funded by the industry with health news and features but, at its heart, would be detailed information from drug companies about their medicines."
According to the Guardian, the European Patients' Forum "welcomed the pilot," although they also quote that group's director Nicola Bedlington as complaining that the pilot program's "slightly sanctimonious and patronising tone" needed improvement. Hah!
btw, if new developments in pharma and health media interest you, check out also: the new aggregator Cafe Pharma blog and WhoisSick.org. The latter is a rather bizarre site for tracking sickness trends all over the country. You can even search by location, time, symptoms, sex, age, and keywords.
Ah, all the patient information you could ever dream of! Who could ask for anything more?