Spending On Direct-To-Consumer Prescription Drug Ads Decreases

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Spending on direct-to-consumer advertisements for medications has decreased for the second consecutive year, according to a study recently released by TNS Media Intelligence, the AP/Albany Times Union reports. According to the study, spending on such ads reached a high of $5.43 billion in 2006 and decreased by 3% to $5.26 billion in 2007.

For the first eight months of 2008, spending on such ads totaled to $3.18 billion, a 6.3% decrease from the same period in 2007, the study found. Spending on ads for established medications increased by 5.2% in 2007, and spending on ads for new medications decreased by 6.5%, the study found.


The study attributed the decrease in part to fewer new medications that target a broad population. In addition, pharmaceutical companies have begun to wait longer before they begin to advertise new medications, the study found. Ads for new medications began as long as 12 months after their approval in 2008, compared with 10 months in 2007 and between six and seven months from 2004 through 2006, according to the study. The study also found that pharmaceutical companies have purchased fewer "disease awareness" ads and ads that promote companies rather than products.

Erik Gordon, associate dean and head of biomedical industry programs at Stevens Institute of Technology, in large part attributed the decrease in spending on DTC ads for medications to efforts by pharmaceutical companies to reduce costs, as well as a response to criticism from lawmakers and others that such ads overstate benefits and understate risks (Johnson, AP/Albany Times Union, 11/16).

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