The European Commission has revealed plans for a pilot scheme to
provide 'validated and patient-oriented' information on prescription
The test scheme, announced by commissioner Erkki Liikanen as part of a
review of EU pharmaceutical legislation two weeks ago, is to focus
exclusively on AIDS, diabetes and asthma treatments.
Denying widespread claims that the proposals marked the advent of
direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing, Liikanen said information would be
available to patients only when requested.
The decision to test the pilot scheme was prompted by fears that
European patients are being forced to rely on official and unofficial
information on ailments published on the internet in the US.
The EC intended to end the disparity in availability of information
favouring those with internet access and knowledge of the English
Liikanen added that the marketing of products, which differ from those
available in the EU despite sharing a name, underlined the need for
readily available information.
The industry will be required to follow a code of conduct to be worked
out between member states when the legislation enabling the move is
drafted during the next year. The scheme is unlikely to be implemented
until July 2002.
Already four communications agencies from the Omnicom Group stable have
formed an alliance to capitalise on this market.