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Internet animation prompts 75,000 letters to Congress in 3 weeks

Monday, March 21, 2005

Internet animation “The Drugs I Need” prompts 75,000 letters to Congress in 3 weeks to make drug study results public
More than half-million Americans viewed drug industry spoof; numbers growing in consumer push for new laws to improve transparency on drug side effects

(Washington, D.C.) – More than 75,000 letters have been sent to Congress in the past three weeks supporting prescription drug reform from viewers of Consumers Union’s new animated Internet spoof “The Drugs I Need.”
The animation, which has been featured on “The Today Show” and picked up by the popular JibJab website, has been viewed by more than half a million people, said Rob Schneider, director of Consumers Union’s prescription drug reform initiative.
“America’s response to the issues we raised about prescription drug reform has been overwhelming,” Schneider said. “This animation really hit a nerve with consumers, who are fed up with the lack of good information about drug safety in this country.”
At the end of the song and animation, which spoofs prescription drug ads, viewers can send a letter to Congress asking for major reforms, including passage of bills that would require drug companies to make public the results of all their drug trial studies and create an Independent Office of Drug Safety. Currently, drug companies are not required to make their study results public, which allows them to play-up positive studies but hide ones that show negative results.
“The fact so many folks have sent letters to Congress shows consumers’ desire to have access to all the safety information related to the medicines they take each day,” Schneider said.
The measure, The Fair Access to Clinical Trials (FACT) Act, is co-sponsored by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa).
“By making clinical trial information publicly available, the FACT Act would make the system for ensuring drug safety more transparent and more accountable. That ultimately leads to an even safer system and greater consumer confidence,” said Sen. Grassley, whose support for a clinical trials registry stems from the oversight work he’s conducted during the past year on the Food and Drug Administration’s handling of information about drug risks.
Added Sen. Dodd: “Consumers shouldn’t be left in the dark when it comes to the medicines they are taking. This measure can help shine a bright light on information related to clinical trials, and in doing so, help consumers and doctors make more informed decisions when it comes to healthcare.”
Contact: Susan Herold, 202-462-6262