NPR logo Hey, Doc, If You See A Bad Drug Ad, Please Call FDA

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Hey, Doc, If You See A Bad Drug Ad, Please Call FDA

Take a look this Pfizer ad for Geodon, an antipsychotic medicine, from a few years back.

Is something amiss in this ad? (Click on image to see PDF) FDA hide caption

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Anything look amiss? If you said the Pfizer ad was missing some important information about risks and included an unsubstantiated superiority claim, then you're just the sort of person the Food and Drug Administration wants to hear from.

Back in 2007, the agency sent Pfizer a warning letter about problems with the the ad.

Now FDA wants the people who prescribe medicines to help catch stuff like this by ratting on untruthful ads, sales spiels and marketing materials.

To kick things off, FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg sent a letter to her medical colleagues, asking them "to help FDA in our efforts to stop misleading prescription drug promotion."

For its part, the brand-name drug industry says bring it on. In a statement, PhRMA Senior Vice President Ken Johnson said drugmakers are already doing a lot to make sure their ads and sales pitches are up to snuff.

"We view today’s announcement by FDA as another step to help educate – and receive feedback from – healthcare providers about prescription drug advertising and promotion," Johnson said.