givers, in consultation with healthcare professionals, can then make the best informed decisions. Guidelines for liberalised direct to consumer information Information from the pharmaceutical industry must meet all applicable standards for balance and accuracy—but so should other sources of information. Industry advertising is already controlled through legal or regulatory agency initiatives. Other sources of direct to consumer product information from industry should be evidence based, fairly presented, and easily understood. Some new internet guidelines developed by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Indus-tries and Associations are designed to ensure that con-sumers receive properly vetted information from the industry. 19 The internet is already a wide open market-place of information, and European regulators cannot turn back the tide. But guidelines like these, which are consistent with the European Commission’s Health Online set of quality criteria for health websites, will help to protect the interests of European citizens. 20 Finally, conditions that might seem part of the normal vicissitudes of life to some, can be worrisome to others. And, as indicated above, a strong case can be made for liberalised direct to consumer information on seriously undertreated and undiagnosed diseases. To limit access to product information arbitrarily because of unfounded fears about direct to consumer advertising impinges on the rights of Europeans to have all the information they need to make informed choices about their health.—Silvia N Bonaccorso, Jeffrey L Sturchio We thank Marshall Marinker, Hildrun Sundseth, and Kate Tillett for commenting on early drafts. Competing interests: Both authors are employees of the
This is the end of the preview.
access the rest of the document.