NEW YORK: PhRMA is strongly denying a report on the gossip pages of the New York Daily News claiming that the influential trade group considered using a thriller novel to push its position on drug importation.
The book was intended to scare people from buying drugs outside the US, according to the Daily News.
"PhRMA was not interested in doing a book. This was not a project that was approved ... by the leadership of PhRMA," said Ken Johnson, SVP of communications. "We have credible, safety-based arguments to support our position. We don't need to resort to Looney Tunes."
Johnson noted that an outside consultant brought the idea to a "lower-level staffer." He declined to say where in the company the staffer worked, but noted that it was not in the communications department.
"We are not going to defend an inexcusable idea," Johnson said. "This was a screwball idea."
He added that "institutional controls" have been put in place to prevent similar situations, but that, otherwise, PhRMA isn't doing any crisis communications.
PhRMA has undertaken various outreach projects since coming under new leadership in January, and Johnson noted that the book idea would undermine those trust-building efforts.
Separately, PhRMA has expanded its contract with Edelman as part of efforts to consolidate its agency relationships.
Edelman in May won state outreach work to handle such issues as importation, Medicare drug coverage, and assistance programs for the uninsured.
The national component "mirrors the work that's been done on the state level," Johnson said.
PhRMA began reviewing its agency needs early this year, paring down a roster of more than a dozen firms.
Edelman did not immediately return a call for comment.