By Paul Thomas, Managing Editor Given the current consumer and media backlash against drug makers, theres a real need for clear and sober public education about what drug companies really do. For its part, Pfizer recently introduced Phil the Pill, a lovable little blue tablet mascot with bulging eyes and a wide grin. Phil stars in Pfizers brochure, Where Do New Medicines Come From?, which seeks to clarify common myths and misperceptions about how drugs come into being. Subtitled Phil the Pills Journey from Laboratory to Medicine Cabinet, the leaflet takes us on a magical ride from drug discovery to patenting to clinical trials, all the way to when, sporting a gray beard and cane, an aged Phil loses his patent and is put out to pasture. Pfizer is actively distributing the brochures in doctors offices, clinics, hospitals and at various events at which Pfizer takes part, says Francisco Gebauer, a company spokesperson. You can also find Phil in cyberspace by doing a search on . Phil gets around, often with his Spanish-speaking compañero, Pepe Pildora. Unfortunately, the brochure neglects to tell us about the most critical period of Phils life his formative days in the manufacturing plant. We learn nothing of how he is mixed, pressed, coated, or packaged. And we learn nothing about you, Phils creators. What a shame, for the public and for you. Manufacturing is not in the Phil brochures because it is not a hot button issue for the public, says Gebauer. We know the hot button issues. Prescription drug costs. Corporate profits. Importation. Clinical trials. Whether the Chiron flu vaccine fiasco will elevate manufacturing to hot button status remains to be seen. Regardless, all these issues have the industry in defense mode. PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, is working overtime these
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