Direct-to-consumer pharma ads questioned

While most pharma ads still target doctors, the number of ads reaching out to consumers continue to grow--along with the warnings the FDA sends out to pharmas claiming the ads exaggerate benefits or minimize risks, according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. 

Total spending on pharma marketing hit $29.9 billion in 2005, up from $11.4 billion in 1996, the report said. Even more notable is that during the period studied, the percentage of these budgets spent on direct-to-consumer advertising grew a staggering 330 percent, from $985 million to $4.2 billion.

Hoping to head off regulation of the industry, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America say members have adopted standards requiring ads to offer a balanced presentation of drug benefits and risks. However, that alone isn't likely to keep the FDA off of their back. Also, it still isn't going to do much for doctors getting pressure from patients to prescribe advertised drugs.

To learn more about the ads:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)

Related Article:
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Pfizer restructures DTC drug advertising campaigns. Report
Bristol-Myers tailors drug campaigns. Report
Frist to seek moratorium on new drug advertising. Report