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Pfizer Alters DTC Approach

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BOSTON Pfizer today said it would change its direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines and make its practices consistent with the "Guiding Principles" put forth by the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association on Aug. 2.

The New York-based drug company said it would seek to better educate physicians about new medicines prior to advertising them on TV and in print, as well as include language in ads about alternate treatments.

Specifically, Pfizer said it intends to "fundamentally change our approach to communicating risk and benefit information to improve educational value, while continuing to motivate." The company plans to "provide use, risk and benefit information in all product TV and print prescription medicine advertisements," it said, and "no longer create 'Go ask your doctor about a medicine' ads."

The company is launching a new "Pfizer Helpful Answers" campaign to provide the public with information about the industry's "Partnership for Prescription Assistance" program for consumers who do not have coverage.

Pfizer also vowed next year to "create more disease awareness with advertisements that do not mention a product, such as the recent 'Why Live With Depression' campaign that featured actress Lorraine Bracco."

Pfizer spent more than $1.1 billion in measured media last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Its wide-ranging roster includes roster includes Havas' Arnold; WPP Group's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell and JWT; Interpublic Group's Gotham and McCann Erikcson; Publicis Groupe's The Kaplan Thaler Group; and Omnicom Group's Merkley + Partners.

—Adweek staff report