PhRMA’s Tauzin Invokes “the McKinnell Response”

This week, the Senate is debating, not only PDUFA reauthorization but much publicized bills that would increase FDA's oversight of drug safety, with provisions for labelling, DTC advertising limits and requirements for post-approval safety surveillance. To watch a video update which aired on Bloomberg yesterday, click here. PhRMA's President Billy Tauzin has reportedly urged senators to focus on user fees.  How likely do you think that will be? Last week, in an interview with Bloomberg, Mr. Tauzin touched on his experiences as a cancer survivor and the fact that his mother beat that disease three times, all the result of early detection and treatment.  He emphasized the need for the U.S. to improve preventive medicine as it searches for solutions to its healthcare crisis. Who could argue with that? This theme also ran through former Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell's book.  But pointing the finger at the medical establishment may soon become a reflexive response to industry criticism. Pharma appears to have a number of problems of its own to solve, and soon, in the context of "healthcare reform."  (More on that in the next post) The brief interview appeared to start off on a rather combative note, mentioning the industry's spending on lobbying ("exaggerated," Tauzin says). It might have included at least one "hard ball "on public opinion, offlabel marketing or the other issues swirling around the industry now.  But, even at four minutes long, it provides some insights into a consummate deal maker. The industry's spin doctors should also heed a point that Tauzin makes in the interview:  "There are great things happening in the [industry] labs." The public should see much more of that, and hear more from those in the trenches, in drug development and manufacturing, and far less from sales and marketing.  To watch the interview, click here.  (I've stopped pasting those clunky Bloomberg view boxes in favor of direct links to the videos in our RSS feed. Let me know if there are any problems accessing, or with quality....apart from the brief interruptions between frames, which is due to beta software)