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E-DRUG: Use of survey data in advertising

This message was posted on several statistical lists, and sent to me by
a statistician friend. It should alert all who are interested in drug

I am suggesting to Tom Jabine that he should send the exchange of
letters also to:

1. David A Kessler MD, JD , Commissioner, Food & Drug Administration,
   5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857
2. Sidney M. Wolfe MD, Director, Public Citizen Health Research Group,
   1600 20th Street, Washington DC 20009-1001
3. Donald R. Bennett, MD, director of the Division of Drugs &
   Toxicology at the AMA in Chicago, fax (312) 464 4184

Andrew Herxheimer                  
9 Park Crescent              fax       : +44 181 346 0407
London N3 2NL, UK            e-mail: 101364.2017@compuserve.com

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 23:13:06 -0400
From: David A. Binder <binddav@statcan.ca>
To: AAPORNET <AAPORNET@usc.edu>, allstat <allstat@mailbase.ac.uk>,
    SSC List <d-ssc@mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA>, sso-l <sso-l@ehd.hwc.ca>,
    SURVEY <SURVEY@ftc.gov.pe.ca>, Stats-discuss
Cc: Tom Jabine <tjabine@nas.edu>
Subject: Use of surveys in advertising

Dear subscribers to various statistical listserves:

I am forwarding this message from Tom Jabine to various listserves
because I believe the issue is important to many statisticians
interested in statistical ethics. I apologize for the cross-posting for
those who subscribe to more than one of these listserves. Those
interested in replying directly to Tom Jabine should write to him at

David Binder
Chair, Survey Research Methods Section
American Statistical Association
>Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 22:25:23 EST
>From: Tom Jabine <tjabine@NAS.EDU>
>Subject: Use of surveys in advertising
>To: Multiple recipients of list SRMSNET <SRMSNET@UMDD.UMD.EDU>

>There follows a letter, which is self-explanatory, from me to the CEO
>of Pharmacia and Upjohn:
>                                    3231 Worthington St. NW
>                                    Washington DC  20015-2362
>                                    July 14, 1996
>Mr. John L. Zabriskie, CEO
>Pharmacia and Upjohn, Inc.
>7000 Portage Road
>Kalamazoo MI  99001
>Dear Mr. Zabriskie:
>In the July 14, 1996 issue of the Washington Post Parade magazine,
>an advertisement for Cortaid contained the following statement:
>     Only Cortaid is recommended most by doctors. That's because
>     Cortaid stops the persistent itching, then goes beyond to help
>     heal the blotchy, allergic skin rash. Trust the brand doctors
>     prefer over all other brands.
>I assume the statements about doctors' preferences and
>recommendations were based on one or more surveys of doctors.
>I would be obliged if you could send me information about the
>survey(s) on which these statements were based, including the
>specific questions that were asked about preferences and
>recommendations for Cortaid, the statistical results for those
>questions, and details of the survey design(s), including sample
>sizes, method of data collection, and survey response rates.
>Thank you.
>                              Sincerely,
>                              Thomas B. Jabine
>Following is the transcription of a reply that I received, dated
>Dear Mr. Jabine:
>Your letter dated July 14, 1996 to Dr. John L. Zabriskie requesting
>certain information about a CORTAID[symbol for registered trade name]
>advertisement has been referred to me for reply.
>While the statement you cited from the advertisement is correct and
>we have substantiation for the claims made in the statement, it is not
>our practice to publicly disclose the information you have requested
>absent a compelling business need to do so.
>I regret that we could not be more responsive to your inquiry.
>Very truly yours,
>Ian D. Thorburn [CONSUMER HEALTHCARE, Brand Group Director]
>I am considering making an inquiry to the National Advertising
>Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Does anyone have
>other suggestions for pursuing this issue, or am I wasting my time?
>                                             Tom Jabine


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