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Executive Summary

Rx DRUG ADVERTISING COALITION HAS 51 MEMBERS working toward the development of a research agenda on the social and economic impact of directo-to-consumer prescription drug advertising. The research phase of the coalition's activities is expected to be completed in approximately one year. The group is in the process of forming a consensus on the type of research needed and of gathering resources to sponsor the work. The group of manufacturers, advertisers and broadcasters will proceed in a low profile manner to commission independent research in the hope of ending the debate over the value of Rx drug advertising to consumers. Prescription drug advertising to consumers has been coming under increasing congressional fire as more drug companies begin to communicate to consumers. Smith-Kline, Glaxo and Merck kicked off consumer public service style ad campaigns this spring indirectly supporting Tagamet, Zantac and Mevacor, respectively. A March 4 letter from Reps. Waxman (D-Calif.), Dingell (D-Mich.) and Markey (D-Mass.) to executives of the three major television networks maintained that Rx drugs should never be the subject of TV advertising ("The Pink Sheet" March 14, p. 18). CBS and NBC are two of the founding members of the coalition.

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