Category Archives: Schering DTC Hassan Dingell Stupak Advertising FDA Drug

44 days later. . . . on DTC — and Merck and Pfizer have YET to respond?

The Schering-Plough “immediate” response to US House of Representatives Engergy & Commerce Committee Chairman Dingell’s written requests — for industry’s assurances about some of the ethical issues involved in so-called “Direct to Consumer” (or DTC) advertising of FDA-regulated pharmaceuticals — is now available (PDF file) on the web.

It was 44 days ago that the Chairman asked for an “immediate written response” from these four companies. Smartly, J&J hand-delivered its response to the Chairman on May 30, 2008. [Those apple-polishers(!) — click the image, at right.]

Though CEO Fred Hassan’s letter on behalf of Schering is also dated as of May 30, 2008 — it would seem highly-unlikely that it was delivered to the Committee at the same time as CEO William C. Weldon’s, on bhalf of Johnson & Johnson. Why? Well, because the Committee’s website has featured a link to the J&J letter of response for over a month, now — and the Schering link appeared sometime during the afternoon, yesterday — on July 2, 2008.

Note also that the PDF file shows a series of hand-written “routing” notes on the upper right portion of the first page (or, click on the image, below). That would suggest that the letter was dumped into the “ordinary” U.S. Postal Service Congressional Mail-bins (note that the Committee’s Room Number is hand-written at the far upper-right) — and so, at a minimum, it took a few weeks to arrive on the Chairman’s desk. Not so smart, Mr. Hassan:

Seriously — how much does hand-delivery cost? Or FedEx, signature required?

And, what are we to make of Pfizer? And of Merck? No letter — in 44 days? Wow.