Such advertising is only conducted by Merck in countries where direct-to-consumer advertising is permitted.
Credible data demonstrate that DTC advertising can have a positive impact on patient health in terms of diagnosis, treatment and adherence to prescribed therapies.1,2 Ultimately, the decision of what treatment, if any, a patient receives rests with the physician, following consultation and discussion with the patient.
Merck tries to help consumers achieve better health outcomes by delivering accurate, relevant and understandable information on disease prevention, identification and potential treatment. To remain true to this goal, Merck adheres to the letter and spirit of FDA regulations and guidelines governing DTC promotion, meets or exceeds all Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) guidelines on DTC advertising, and follows a comprehensive set of internal policies and practices when engaging in DTC advertising within the U.S.
Merck has a long-standing policy of voluntarily submitting new U.S.-based DTC advertising campaigns to the FDA for its review and comment before running the campaign. Under Merck’s DTC policies and practices, the information provided in our DTC advertising campaigns must:
In addition, we include information on Merck’s Patient Assistance Programs, along with a toll-free phone number for more information, in all new U.S.-based DTC print and television advertisements.
We inform healthcare professionals about our products before we advertise them to consumers, and we do not launch DTC advertising in the United States until at least six months after a new product has been approved. We also implement comprehensive programs to educate physicians and other prescribers about a new product before starting product-specific DTC broadcast advertising in the U.S. These principles and our practices are reflected in the PhRMA Guiding Principles on Direct-to-Consumer Advertisements about Prescription Medicines. Learn more.
There are concerns that some diseases are underdiagnosed and undertreated. Merck is committed to ensuring that healthcare practitioners, patients and caregivers are informed about diseases such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and asthma, in which we have extensive knowledge and expertise. To answer questions about symptoms, diagnosis and potential treatment options, we sometimes provide grants to organizations with specific expertise in disease areas of interest to us. For a list of grants to medical, scientific and patient organizations, click here.
1Aikin K, Swasy J, Braman A. Patient and Physician Attitudes and Behaviors Associated with DTC Promotion of Prescription Drugs: Summary of FDA Survey Research Results, Final Report, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, 19 November 2004.
2See for example: McGlynn EA, et al. The quality of healthcare delivered to adults in the United States. N Engl J Med. 2003;348(26):2635-4.