Peter Pitts

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Peter Pitts is the director of global health care for the PR firm, Porter Novelli and a director of the firm. When announcing his appointment in March 2009, Porter Novelli made clear that "in addition" to his role with the firm, Pitts was the the president of the Center for Medicines in the Public Interest (CMPI), which it described as "a think tank for public health care policy issues."[1] (CMPI had its origins as a project of the Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco think tank that had ties to Philip Morris.[2])

Prior to joining Porter Novelli, Pitts was "Senior Vice President for Health Affairs at Manning, Selvage & Lee".[1]


A biographical note on CMPI's website in February 2008 stated that he founded CMPI after being a "Senior Fellow for healthcare studies at the Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco based think tank." (Emphasis added)[3] However, another biographical note on the website of political consultancy company, Political Capital describes Pitts as "Director of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest at the Pacific Research Institute."(Emphasis added)[4] The page on the website featured the logos of both the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) and CMPI.

An early 2006 version of the CMPI website stated that "with a tax-deductible contribution to PRI" individuals or companies could support CMPI. The privacy policy at the foot of the page stated that "The Center for Medicines in the Public Interest and the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy do not share, sell, rent or exchange donor, visitor, or member information with anyone" and the copyright tag for the CMPI website stated that it belonged to the Pacific Research Institute.[5]

According to a biographical between 2002 and 2004 Pitts was the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) "Associate Commissioner for External Relations, serving as the agency’s 'Chief Messaging Officer,' where his challenge was to clearly define FDA’s brand image and to communicate the agency’s main themes to its many constituencies. Before his work with the FDA, Mr. Pitts was Managing Partner of Wired World, a strategic public awareness company. He has served as Marketing Manager at the newly formed Cable Health Network, later to become Lifetime Network, Associate Creative Director at Reader's Digest, Creative Services Director at McCall's Magazine, Director of Marketing at The New York Post, and Director of Marketing for The Washington Times and Insight Magazine. His track record brought recognition and an invitation from the internationally known Hudson Institute, which he joined in 1995 as Vice President of Marketing and Communications."[3]


In an interview with Pharmaceutical Executive, a drug industry trade magazine, Pitts lamented the withdrawal of Vioxx. "The more I think about Vioxx, the more I'm convinced that it should not have been pulled from the market," he said."Vioxx was a tremendous opportunity to put forth a responsible argument that drugs have risks as well as benefits and that the public needs to be better aware of that. But it turned into good versus evil—the public health was served in no way. And when you withdraw drugs that actually helped lots of people from the market because of political pressure, then you know we're heading in the wrong direction."[6]


Related SourceWatch Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Porter Novelli, "Porter Novelli Announces New Addition to Senior Team", Media Release, March 12, 2009.
  2. Roy Marden, Philip Morris Pacific Research Institute/Advertising Project, Memorandum, February 26, 1987. 1 page. Bates No.2023646840
  3. 3.0 3.1 "About CMPI", accessed February 2008.
  4. Political Capital, "Speaker Biographies", accessed February 2008.
  5. Untitled, January 13, 2006. (This is archived in the Internet Archives and was accessed in February 2008).
  6. "Thoughtleader: Peter Pitts, Get Up, Stand Up", Pharmaceutical Executive, January 1, 2007.

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