DRUG ADVERTISING: Direct-To-Consumer Ad Spending Grows
New figures from IMS Health and Competitive Media Reporting indicate that direct-to-consumer advertising for pharmaceuticals continued to grow in the first half of 1998, increasing 16% to $631 million (IMS release, 11/11). The Newark Star-Ledger reports that $306 million, or slightly less than half, of the total DTC budget was spent on television advertising, outstripping the $302 million spent on TV drug ads in all of 1997. David Bullock of Distinctive Marketing Inc., said, "Consumers are saying they like the ads because they feel they weren't getting enough information before. But physicians continue to be afraid that consumers will get misinformation." A survey from Prevention Magazine reported that 59% of consumers think the ads help them "make their own decisions" about different drugs. Separately, a Time magazine survey showed that "28% of consumers would switch doctors in order to get a desired medication." IMS/Competitive data show that DTC ads "prompted promotional spending aimed solely at doctors" to grow 19% to $2.5 billion in the first six months of 1998 (Silverman, 11/12). IMS reported that spending on DTC advertising for the allergy drug Claritin topped $67 million during the same period. Even with the rapid growth of DTC and physician-targeted ads, the drug industry continues to invest 65% of its promotional budget in face-to-face selling with office-based physicians (IMS release, 11/11).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.