Health Care Communications

Partnering With Health Care Professionals and Patients

Whether collaborating on critical clinical trial research in the development of a new medicine or communicating about the latest, most accurate information on prescription medicines, interactions between biopharmaceutical professionals and health care professionals are important to improving patient health and improving medicines.

Providing physicians with timely information about the medicines they prescribe is just one way that collaboration benefits patients, and also advances health care throughout the United States. Relationships between biopharmaceutical companies and health care professionals help achieve these goals by:

  • Helping inform healthcare professionals about the benefits and risks (both established and emerging) of approved products
  • Sharing new uses of approved medicines
  • Disseminating recent data from clinical trials; and
  • Obtaining feedback and advice from health care professionals

Maintaining ethical relationships with health care professionals is a key part of our companies’ mission to develop innovative medicines. In their interactions with the medical community, PhRMA member companies are committed to following the highest ethical standards and all legal requirements. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal and state agencies regulate pharmaceutical companies’ activities with healthcare professionals, and the companies themselves devote substantial resources to compliance with government regulations.

To reinforce our intent that interactions be professional, ethical, informational exchanges designed to benefit patients and to enhance the practice of medicine, PhRMA strengthened its "Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals."

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising is another important resource for improving healthcare awareness and patient care. DTC advertising informs patients who are potentially suffering from undiagnosed conditions, raises awareness of treatment options, and encourages patients to seek medical attention that may help manage conditions and avoid costly medical procedures, such as hospitalization and surgery.

Surveys show that DTC advertising brings patients into their doctors' offices and helps foster important doctor-patient conversations about previously undiagnosed or untreated medical conditions. A national survey by Prevention Magazine found that 29 million patients talked to their doctors about a health condition for the first time after seeing DTC ads1. During those conversations, according to the survey, most patients discuss behavioral and lifestyle changes, and more than half receive recommendations for nonprescription or generic drugs.

PhRMA’s revised “Guiding Principles On Direct-to-Consumer Advertisements About Prescription Medicines,” which took effect in 2009, address aspects of DTC ranging from the use of healthcare professionals and celebrities featured in advertisements to the presentation of balanced benefit and risk information, as well as the appropriate timing and placement of advertisements containing adult-oriented content.

Physician Survey on Pharmaceutical Company Activities and Information
Read the results of a survey that emphasizes the value of biopharmaceutical company engagement with healthcare providers. 

Learn more about our Principles and Guidelines.

1. "The National Survey on Consumer Reaction to DTC Advertising of Prescription Medicines,” Prevention Magazine (2010).

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