Information shortage

From PharmaLive:

Almost two-thirds of physicians favor a moratorium on DTC advertising, with half supporting a 1 to 2 year wait before manufacturers can begin promoting new drugs directly to consumers, according to a new study from TNS Healthcare.  The study shows that fewer than half of consumers—44%—agree with doctors that a DTC moratorium should be implemented.

I’m with the consumers. Withholding information from consumers for marketed drugs is not the answer.

June 28, 2007

2 thoughts on “Information shortage”

  1. The idea of a 1-2 year delay seems to me to be disingenuous. It’s been my observation that DTC advertising doesn’t peak when a new product is launched, but rather, when an old one is about to go off patent. Maybe the facts won’t bear me out, but that’s my perception. Maybe it’s a little bit of both, with big pharma pushing the old primacy and recency effects?

  2. DTC (direct-to-consumer) Advertising is one of the most controversial practices the drug industry uses to market its various products.

    Total spending on pharmaceutical promotion grew from $11.4 billion in 1996 to $29.9 billion in 2005. Although during that time spending on direct-to-consumer advertising increased by 330%, it made up only 14% of total promotional expenditures in 2005. Direct-to-consumer campaigns generally begin within a year after the approval of a product by the FDA.

    Supporters of this form of advertising, which is banned in nearly almost all countries (excluding the United States and New Zealand) say it provides a real service to consumers, informing them of new drugs and alerting them to health problems they may be unaware of.

    Critics feel this form of advertising promotes only the most expensive new blockbuster drugs, when older and cheaper versions of drugs might be just as effective, thus driving up overall health care costs, with much emphasis placed on the high costs of prescription drugs.

    Aggressive promotion can pay off big time. Merck, maker of Vioxx, the most promoted drug, spent $161 million advertising it in 2000, and sales of Vioxx quadrupled to $1.5 billion.

    In fact, Merck spent more advertising Vioxx, according to NIHCM (National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation), than the $125 million spent promoting Pepsi or the $146 million spent on Budweiser beer ads. It even came close to the $169 million spent promoting GM’s Saturn, the nation’s most advertised car.

    The drug industry says its ads not only educate consumers but also prompt people who might otherwise go undiagnosed to see their doctors. Many doctors agree.

    What’s your opinion as to whether or not prescription drug advertising costs are a direct reflection to the high costs of prescription drugs in the United States.

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