The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association has shed its name andhopes to remake its image. The Washington-based trade associationannounced on Monday that it rolled out a new name, PharmaceuticalResearch and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA, intended to bepronounced "pharma"), and a new logo to boot.PhRMA represents approximately 100 drug companies, including 40biotechnology companies. PhRMA spokesman Steve Berchem toldBioWorld that his organization will now focus on four core priorities:federal and state health care reform, public perception of the industry,protection of intellectual property and international trade."If a project doesn't fall into one of these categories, it's not likely toget attention from us anymore," said Berchem. He added that in thepast the PMA expended "a fair amount of effort" on issues such asanimal research and environmental issues relating to the manufactureof drugs. Now, it will leave such topics to other niche trade groups.The new approach comes as the former PMA was in the midst ofdownsizing and restructuring. Last month a dozen employees were laidoff. The group is scrambling to project a more positive image for largepharmaceutical companies which have come under fire from politiciansfor price gouging."The change in name and focus is to emphasize further the role we playin discovering new medicines," said Berchem. _ Lisa Piercey

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