With More Oversight on the Horizon, Drugmakers Work to Polish Image

Publication: The Washington Post

Author: Ceci Connolly

01/08/2009 - The pharmaceutical industry, confronting sluggish growth, low prestige and the prospect of more-aggressive government oversight, is moving on several fronts to burnish its image and align itself rhetorically with the health reform goals of President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress.

Conceding that it has long been viewed as Republican-dominated, the industry's lobbying arm plans to spend tens of millions of dollars on an advertising blitz promoting Obama-style health coverage for every American. The first spot -- sponsored by the drug lobby, consumer and labor groups, and health providers -- will be unveiled today.

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Patient advocacy groups say the voluntary changes will fall short of altering the cozy relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

"I'm not sure it actually changes the number of meals the industry is providing all that much," said Allan Coukell, policy director of the Prescription Project, a Boston-based nonprofit that often finds itself pitted against drugmakers.

Read the full article With More Oversight on the Horizon, Drugmakers Work to Polish Image on the Washington Post's Web site.

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