AARP Will Launch $10M Ad Campaign Against DTC Ads
AARP plans to launch a $10 million advertising campaign intended to counteract the effects of direct-to-consumer advertising, the Wall Street Journal reports. AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, hopes to "prod more people" into inquiring about generic equivalent prescriptions and learn more about the potential side effects of the drugs they are taking. The campaign will include print ads, beginning on Friday, and network television ads, beginning on Sunday. According to the Journal, the print ads will include the warning, "Before you take your medicine, take this advice," along with "pointers" like "Take exactly as directed, but first call around and compare drug prices" and "Do not let advertising sell you on drugs you don't need." The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the American Pharmaceutical Association have agreed to assist in the campaign with counter displays and pamphlets. The Journal reports that "[a]t first glance, [AARP] might not seem to stand much of a chance" against the drug industry, which spent almost $2.5 billion on DTC ads last year, according to CMR, an advertising tracking unit of Taylor Nelson Sofres. The Journal reports that "[e]ven" Bill Novelli, CEO of AARP, admits that the ad campaign is "little more than a 'drop in the bucket.'" However, Novelli has succeeded in a similar situation, the Journal reports -- as the head of the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids, he led an effort to "bring down" cigarette advertisements featuring "Joe Camel" and the "Marlboro Man." A spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association said, "It is certainly appropriate for AARP to make its own recommendations. But in the end, it should be the doctor, who knows the patient best, and what the patient needs, making the final decision" (Greene, Wall Street Journal, 4/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.