Industry welcomes EC patient info plans

Healthcare PROs are optimistic about European Commission (EC) plans to let pharma firms communicate directly with patients about certain drugs.

The EC is proposing that non-promotional information is given to patients for prescription-only products. The proposals are currently out for public consultation.

Red Health director Pat Pearson said: 'It makes absolute sense for the pharma company that developed the medicine and understands it best to provide factual information to patients who seek it. This could be web-based or interactive TV. The technology is not important.'

He added: 'Patients... will be better equipped to discuss their treatment with healthcare professionals. This will reinforce the role of healthcare PR in ensuring the medical profession is kept up to date with new developments.'

Cohn & Wolfe associate director of healthcare Rebecca Burton believed the challenge for the EC will be navigating the different existing regulations of each member country. She said: 'The EC proposal will help communicators delivering international programmes across European markets to ensure that strategies and materials developed are of maximum use to local marketing companies.

'(But) the EC will need to find a middle ground that will best serve patients across Europe in gaining access to quality, objective and reliable information.'

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