More from the pharma DTC front

More from the pharma DTC front

Recently I posted about how Massachusetts stands alone in its ban on drug company coupons (Massachusetts gets it). While there are some efforts underway in the state to overturn that ban, I’ve also learned that there is a move afoot to make the ban national.

A group of 23 consumer advocacy groups submitted testimony to FDA, arguing that drug coupons should be banned because they give consumers the impression that prescription drugs are simply another form of consumer product rather than serious medical treatments. The Prescription Access Litigation Project is hosting the second annual Bitter Pill Awards next week to highlight its perspective on overzealous drug company marketing to consumers.

The pharmaceutical industry is on the defensive over this sort of broad, consumer product-like DTC advertising. There’s a political price to be paid and it’s also unclear how effective such efforts are. Couponing is an example of the drug companies emulating traditional consumer product practices. In the future expect more subtle, personalized approaches focused on adherence rather than the mass market approaches so prevalent today. Adherence-oriented programs are more defensible –they may even receive the tacit or explicit support of payers– and won’t act as a lightning rod the way approaches like couponing do.

April 20, 2006

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