Brandweek’s Jim Edwards has a very sensible opinion piece (i.e. one I agree with) suggesting that big Pharma needs to start treating consumers like adults and tell them about the risks as well as the benefits of their products. I’ve always said that it’s in the the best long term interest of pharma companies and patients that the best understanding about their products is out there clearly. And it’s apparent from some of the research discussed by James Gardner on TCHB and over on John Mack’s Pharma Marketing Blog last week that the way risks are described in current product advertising has been glossed over using some quite clever psychological techniques.
But the overall concept that all drugs have effects, mostly good effects on bad conditions, but some bad for some people, needs to be reintroduced, so that patients and doctors can make up their own minds. Otherwise I think the end result will be a nanny-state hamstringing the pharma companies even more, to the chagrin of my libertarian friends. Whether big Pharma will adopt this pose remains open to question, even if the signs have been slightly more encouraging in the last few months.