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Diabetes Patients Favor Takeda's Actos

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that of surveyed patients who mention a branded drug as their top-of-mind type 2 diabetes therapy, 37 percent mention Takeda's Actos compared with 18 percent and 10 percent of patients who say the same for Byetta and Januvia, respectively.

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Patient perceptions of a top-of-mind brand is generally reflective of the proportionate spend that a company devotes to television and other direct-to-consumer advertising. The new report entitled Brands & Strategies: Non-Insulin Antidiabetics finds that Merck's marketing budget for Januvia has focused primarily on physicians and only a small portion of the budget has been devoted to direct-to-consumer advertising.

Merck has invested a great deal of promotional spending on samples and professional contact in the promotion of Januvia to physicians. According to the report, in 2007 Merck spent 72 percent of their total U.S. promotional spend on samples and 27 percent of total U.S. promotional spend on professional contact in the type 2 diabetes market. This spending shows that Merck places a great deal of emphasis on the strategy to encourage physician acceptance of Januvia and its favorable attributes, including low risk of hypoglycemia and good tolerability. At the company level, this strategy has been effective; physicians ranked Merck as "the best" company to market type 2 diabetes therapies.

"We expect that in the future, Takeda will decrease its marketing spend on Actos as the brand nears the end of its life cycle with ensuing genericization, while Merck will increase its spend on Januvia given its recent launch on the market," said Marcus Bain, analyst at Decision Resources. "We believe that Merck's expanded investment in 2008 in its multi-channel systems including websites, television and video capabilities will enable Merck to effectively market Januvia to its customers facilitating strong sales of this brand."