Subscribe   RSS Contact Us

Google SEM Changes Affect Drug Black Box Reminder-like, Redirecting Ads

June 29, 2015 – Two changes to search engine marketing (SEM) recently announced by Google could soon alter how pharmaceutical ... read more

OPDP Sends Six Enforcement Letters in Six Months

June 23, 2015 – The Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) sent just six Untitled Letters to industry for alleged ... read more

Physicians Say CHC-backed H.R. 293 Would Remedy “Burdensome” Sunshine Act Reporting

June 15, 2015 – More than 100 physician organizations have written to Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) to express their strong ... read more

Author of “Pharmaphobia” Says Conflict-of-interest Regulations Are Slowing Medical Progress

June 8, 2015 – In his new book, “Pharmaphobia: How the Conflict of Interest Myth Undermines American Medical Innovation,” Tom ... read more

New House Bill Would Enable Links in Internet and Social Media

May 27, 2015 — On the heels of the swift approval last week of the 21st Century Cures Act in ... read more

House Energy and Commerce Committee Wholeheartedly Approves 21st Century Cures Act

May 21, 2015 – In a unanimous (51-0) vote today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the 21st Century ... read more

21st Century Cures Legislation Poised for Full House Committee Vote This Week

May 18, 2015 – Major medical legislation, including closely followed provisions on off-label communication and Sunshine reporting, survived a House ... read more

FDA Plans for Off-label Communication Draft Guidance, Meeting

May 11, 2015 – With off-label provisions in the 21st Century Cures legislation in the works and the courts bearing ... read more

FTC to Industry: Consumer Health Data Subject to Privacy, Security Protections

May 4, 2015 – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a reminder to industry members collecting, using or sharing ... read more

PhRMA Authors Call for FDA to Establish Off-label Communication Safe Harbor

April 27, 2015 – Because “sharing more information rather than less” about the off-label uses of approved drugs “is critical ... read more

FDA Draft Guidance Describes Framework for Electronic Submission of Promotional Materials

April 22, 2015 – Healthcare marketers soon will have to submit promotional labeling and advertising materials to the FDA electronically, ... read more

Changing of the Guard at PhRMA

April 20, 2015 – The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) last week announced changes to its board – ... read more

Coalition to Sponsor Medical Marketing Pitch Webinar

April 6, 2015 – The Coalition for Healthcare Communication is sponsoring a Webinar May 6 that will highlight both basic ... read more

2014 DTC Ad Spending on the Rise

March 25, 2015 – The amount of money that drug companies spent on direct-to-consumer advertising rose from $3.8 billion in ... read more

What Does OPDP’s Enforcement Lull Mean?

March 12, 2015 – The FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) has issued fewer enforcement letters in recent years, ... read more

Who Says You Can’t Fight City Hall?

Commentary from Jack Angel, Coalition for Healthcare Communication Education Foundation Executive Director March 9, 2015 – I am not sure ... read more

DAA Expands Ad Privacy Controls to Mobile Marketplace

Feb. 26, 2015 – To “bolster both consumer trust and marketplace growth,” the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) yesterday launched two ... read more

Leveraging Technology and Other Highlights from DIA Marketing Meeting

Feb. 23, 2015 – Dale Cooke, owner of PhillyCooke Consulting, who spoke Feb. 18 at the Drug Information Association’s Marketing ... read more

FDA Budget Increase Relies on Higher User Fees

Feb. 16, 2015 – Although President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 includes increases for both the FDA and ... read more

Revised Guidance on Use of Brief Summary in Print DTC Ads: Full PI Is Not Needed or “Recommended”

Feb. 9, 2015 – In a revised draft guidance document released Feb. 6, the FDA is updating a 2004 version ... read more

FDA Commissioner Hamburg to Leave FDA

Feb. 5, 2015 – After serving the FDA for six years, Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret Hamburg, M.D., will ... read more

21st Century Cures Discussion Draft Includes Textbook/Reprint Language, Communication Fixes

Jan. 29, 2015 – A 393-page discussion draft of legislation designed to accelerate the 21st Century Cures initiative – released ... read more

Transparency Proponents Slam Company-Provider Communication

Jan. 26, 2015 – Although biomedical companies can legally communicate and share information with physicians under the Physician Payments Sunshine ... read more

FDA Moves Forward with Major Statement Study, Responds to Coalition’s Comments

Jan. 14, 2015 – The FDA is taking the next step toward examining whether shorter, simpler risk disclosures in direct-to-consumer ... read more

Coalition: Issues to Watch in 2015

Jan. 13, 2015 — As 2015 gets fully underway, there are several issues that healthcare marketers should be following, according ... read more

Kamp to WSJ’s Pharmalot: CMS Move on CME “One of Biggest Flip Flops” Ever

Dec. 18, 2014 – This week’s release by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of subregulatory guidance on ... read more

MM&M Tax Reform Prognosis: Stay Tuned

Dec. 4, 2014 — The looming threat of eliminating the marketing tax deduction as part of overall tax reform may ... read more

Previous Next

Senate Commerce Committee Growing Impatient with Self-regulatory Measures

April 29, 2013 – Although the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) has made great strides to protect consumers’ privacy online – which include its industry Self-regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising and its “Your Ad Choices” public education campaign – the Senate Commerce Committee appears to be underwhelmed by companies’ self-regulation efforts and the DAA’s promise to honor “Do Not Track” requests from consumers.

“Consumers are still waiting for these Do Not Track standards. Advertisers are continuing to ignore Do Not Track headers and consumers’ requests for privacy,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, at an April 24 hearing: “A Status Update on the Development of Voluntary Do-Not-Track Standards.”

“I have long expressed skepticism about the ability – or willingness – of companies to regulate themselves on behalf of consumers when it affects their bottom line,” Rockefeller said. “I disclose a generally troubling feeling I have about the nature of corporations around the chance to make money when people don’t know” what information is being collected about them, he continued.

DAA Self-regulatory Program Status

The DAA’s program is designed to provide choice to consumers regarding how they want their privacy protected. “The DAA’s efforts have helped to ensure that consumers will continue to have preferences regarding which ads they wish to see using a one-button mechanism,” said Coalition for Healthcare Communication Executive Director John Kamp. “But clearly, there is still more work to be done and stakeholders have to find common ground to move forward successfully.”

In February 2012, the DAA announced that it would begin work to recognize browser-based choices with a set of tools by which consumers could express their preferences under the DAA principles. Since then, two browser companies, Microsoft and Mozilla, have announced plans to install Do Not Track features that would automatically default to full protection without consumers having to make a choice.

DAA Managing Director Lou Mastria testified before the Senate committee that these features undermine the industry agreement made in February 2012, because they remove consumer choice – a linchpin in the agreement – from the equation.

In March 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called on industry to step up self-regulatory practices or live with Congress stepping in. At the recent American Advertising Federation annual advertising day on Capitol Hill, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez stated that the advertising industry should work with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to develop a browser-based solution and praised Microsoft and Mozilla for their efforts, so it appears that support for voluntary programs may be wavering.

Although Harvey Anderson, Mozilla Senior Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, told the committee that “industry has not moved forward quickly enough,” and that “the efficacy of the Ad Choice program remains questionable,” he did also state that “the work of the DAA should be acknowledged.”

Mastria told the committee that the DAA self-regulatory program protects consumers while also allowing them access to ad-supported content, adding that changes to the current paradigm would harm small publishers while also “chilling innovation.” He said that the DAA “is a solution provider” and the only entity that actually delivers choice for consumers.

“Today, the DAA calls on all stakeholders, including the FTC, W3C, Microsoft and Mozilla to honor the terms of the [February 2012] announcement and remove impediments that are preventing implementation of browser-driven choice for consumers,” Mastria said.

Is Legislation Needed?

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked whether Congress should move forward with legislation in this area, because “when voluntary agreements fail to provide compliance, that’s the classic instance where a law is needed.” Mastria replied that “legislative or technological fiats are not necessarily what the Internet needs. A nimble, self-regulatory approach [like DAA’s] is exactly the kind of thing that fosters consumer trust while protecting privacy.”

He later added that the DAA program delivers “the very mechanisms” that are in Do Not Track legislation (DNT2013) introduced Feb. 28 by Rockefeller and Blumenthal. This legislation would:

  • Create a universal legal obligation for all online companies to honor consumer choice when consumers do not want anyone to collect information about their online activities;
  • Allow the FTC to pursue enforcement action against any company that does not honor this request by consumers;
  • Allow companies, upon consumer requests to not be tracked, to collect only the information that is necessary for the Web site or online service to function and be effective, but then place a  legal obligation on the online company to destroy or make anonymous the information after it is no longer needed.

“Industry needs to strongly advocate for – and deliver on – its promise to implement the levels of online privacy protection that the public is seeking,” Kamp said. “For the DAA’s program to thrive, consensus on how the program will work for all stakeholders is key.”