A new study by two York University researchers estimates the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development, contrary to the industry’s claim.
The researchers’ estimate is based on the systematic collection of data directly from the industry and doctors during 2004, which shows the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spent 24.4% of the sales dollar on promotion, versus 13.4% for research and development, as a percentage of US domestic sales of US$235.4 billion.
What most Americans don’t realize — because we have such short memories — is that not so long ago, the kind of wall-to-wall Big Pharma advertising that is commonplace today did not exist. It was regulated. Can someone please tell me who benefits from this massive direct-to-consumer spending besides big pharmaceutical company shareholders?
Because of this huge DTC spending:
- There is less money for R&D
- People are asking their doctors for drugs they don’t need
- Doctors are reduced to pill order-takers
Hey, obviously we believe in the benefits of prescription drugs, or we wouldn’t have started www.eDrugSearch.com. But unregulated DTC advertising is about drug company profits — not improving people’s health.182