Four of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies are proposing to launch a television station to tell the public about their drugs, amid strenuous lobbying across Europe by the industry for an end to restrictions aimed at protecting patients.
Big Pharma TV would be a dedicated interactive digital channel funded by the industry with health news and features but, at its heart, would be detailed information from drug companies about their medicines.
A 10-minute pilot DVD, seen by The Guardian, featured a white-coated doctor discussing breast cancer and a woman patient who reassured viewers that "there are many new treatments available".
Under the proposals, viewers could use their remote control to click on treatment options and read what manufacturers have to say about the latest branded breast cancer drugs.
Four companies, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Novartis and Procter & Gamble, are behind the pilot, which they are offering to the European Commission as a way to give patients more information.
The commission is consulting on potential changes to the regulations that ban all direct-to-consumer advertising of medicinal drugs.
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