dtc advertising

Insidious Greed: How Big Pharma Rips You Off on Drugs

21 Oct: Insidious Greed: How Big Pharma Rips You Off on Drugs

Recently, through the launch of a new online database last week the U.S. government revealed that in 2013, doctors were paid roughly $380 million by medical device and pharmaceutical corporations for speeches and consultations, all within a five-month time frame. Big Pharma spends almost $20 billion annually marketing their products to doctors, which yields profits upwards of $300 billion per year in drug sales. A handful of these doctors were paid more than $500,000 apiece. Others were paid millions for the drugs and devices they helped to create. Doctors insist that this money doesn’t influence what they recommend to their patients. However, it’s extremely difficult to imagine what purpose the payments would serve if not to increase product sales through prescriptions. eDrugSearch.com has…

02 Sep: Get your Pfizer Pfelon commemorative tee shirt here!

Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, will pay a record $2.3bn civil and criminal penalty over unlawful prescription drug promotions, the US Justice Department announced today. The department said the $2.3bn settlement included a $1.2bn criminal fine, the largest criminal fine in US history. The agreement also included a criminal forfeiture of $105m. Hat Tip to our friend Jack at PharmaGossip 🙂

01 Jun: FDA’s silly edicts prove that DTC advertising was a bad idea all along

Sometime back, Effect Measure posed a question many of us have pondered about direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical commercials: What’s with the side-by-side bath tubs in the Cialis ads? Here are some of the answers given in comments — “Cialis really gets your pipes flowing or plumbing flowing…” “Bathtubs — because you can’t show naked, mutually aroused adults on the sandy beach on TV, but you can imply they are naked and mutually aroused whilst lounging in soapy tubs on a sandy beach on TV.” “I think it is to convey the impression that Cialis is ripe for a slow, romantic build-up to sex and not as much about rushing to the goal. Take your time, relax, have a wonderful evening just…

01 Sep: Big Pharma’s $3 billion on advertising is a waste of YOUR money

Americans are known for our short memories, so it may surprise you to know that prescription drug ads aimed at consumers are a relatively new phenomenon. They’ve only been around in present form for a little over a decade, when the FDA, under pressure from the pharmaceutical industry, approved the practice. Now, it’s hard to watch TV or pick up a magazine without seeing a drug commercial. You might also be unaware that the U.S. is one of only two countries in the world that permit this kind of advertising. The other is New Zealand. There are a number of reasons why most doctors and health experts think direct-to-consumer advertising is a bad idea. Here are a few: Prescription drugs…

20 Aug: Survey: Teens who abuse prescription drugs don’t buy them online

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), last week issued a fascinating survey of teens. Two results stood out to me: 1. Teens (aged 12 to 17) indicated, for the first time, that it is easier to acquire “prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin or Ritalin, without a prescription” than it is to buy beer. 2. While Internet pharmacies have been widely blamed for the increase in prescription drug abuse, few of the teens surveyed say that the drug abusers acquire their drugs from online pharmacies. That’s right. Here’s what CASA’s press release says: When teens who know prescription drug abusers were asked where those kids get their drugs: 31 percent said from friends…

05 Aug: Dr. Jardini’s tips for saving money on prescription drugs

Dr. Edward Jardini has written a valuable book called How to Save on Prescription Drugs, which offers consumers recommendations for reducing their drug expenditures. The Consumerist blog summarizes the tips as follows: ELIMINATE NONESSENTIAL PRESCRIPTIONS 1. Eliminate medicines that are no longer needed 2. Eliminate medicines that no longer work 3. Eliminate medicines that have never worked 4. Eliminate medicines that were never needed THINK OUTSIDE THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BOTTLE 5. Treat with lifestyle changes 6. Use nondrug treatments 7. Prevent disease naturally STEER CLEAR OF OVERPRICED REDUNDANT DRUGS 8. Don’t “Ask Your Doctor” (for Advertised Drugs) 9. Insist on generic drugs 10. Insist on cheaper medicines with the same class 11. Insist on a cheaper class from the same…

20 May: Reclast’s “jaw problems” caused by too many warnings.

Retired physician John R. Agnew has an amusing take on Big Pharma’s bombardment of consumers with DTC advertising. Writes Agnew: The drug commercials seem to me to be insulting. They overstate the benefits, minimize the side effects and ignore the cost: “Panacea is not for everyone,” they warn. “Let your doctor know if you have liver disease (he is too dumb to figure it out for himself) or are allergic to this drug (which you wouldn’t know in advance anyway). Side effects include fainting, jaundice, suicidal thoughts, constipation and sudden death. Do not operate heavy machinery after taking the first dose, and tell your doctor right away if you are dying”… My favorite is Reclast, a once-a-year treatment for osteoporosis….

09 May: Best stoner flick: Harold & Kumar — or Celebrex ad?

I keep hoping it will go away (after all, it’s been around for over a year), but I can’t seem to escape that two-minute-plus Celebrex ad with a bunch of freaky faceless people bicycling, drinking tea, painting fences, reading the newspaper, swimming with the fishes, dancing under the stars, and playing frisbee with the dog in slow motion. I guess I must be watching channels for the arthritis demo, like AMC, a little too often. With the slo-mo and totally weird vibe of the ad, I’ve been thinking of pulling the ad into my video editing software and laying on a new soundtrack that would be more appropriate to the visuals. Here are my candidates: Lucy in the Sky with…

26 Apr: “Your secret is safe … with Valtrex”

This drug parody ad makes an interesting point. Ads with a tagline of “Your secret is safe with Valtrex” actually might be a more effective way for GlaxoSmithKline to market the drug, considering how many herpes sufferers are reticent to share their condition with their partners. The ads could be done by the same agency that does the “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” ads. It would be morally and ethically WRONG, of course — but we are talking about Big Pharma here. It would at least be more true to life than the current overly-earnest approach — always featuring both partners smiling and talking pleasantly to the camera. A good shouting match might be more appropriate. People really…

06 Jan: Big Pharma spends twice as much on advertising as on R&D

From ScienceDaily: 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…

09 Dec: Bring out your meds: flu season is here

Wolfgang Niesielski at the Contra Costa Times rings in flu season (and its commercialization) with this humor column. Excerpt: HOW CAN YOU not be aware that the flu season is now “officially” open? Actually, unofficially, it started toward the end of the summer vacation when the allergy season was at a wane. Now you notice someone coughing, sneezing and feeling miserable in every second TV commercial (this combined with the allergy season, means that there is always someone coughing, sneezing and feeling miserable throughout the entire year). Turn on the TV, and instead of watching the family happily frolicking in green meadows and colorful flower gardens after ingesting the particular product that financed the commercial, you observe the wise, tough-as-nails…

03 Dec: Big Pharma Montel Williams can’t take the heat from a high-schooler

Looks like Montel Williams’ temper has derailed the Orange Bus. From MSNBC: A thoughtful query caused Montel Williams to cancel an interview and later threaten the high school newspaper intern who asked the question, reports the Associated Press. “I’m trying to figure out exactly why you are here and what the interview is about,” Montel snapped at Savannah Morning-News intern Courtney Scott. The talk show host, in town to promote a free prescription drug program for low-income patients, ended the press event after Courtney asked if he thought that pharmaceutical companies would be discouraged from research and development if profits were restricted… Later, Montel confronted Courtney and crew at his hotel, while they were covering another story. “As we were…

30 Nov: Lipitor ads: Worse lip-synching than Britney Spears?

For about a year and half now, Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart, has been a paid endorser for the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Pfizer keeps using Jarvik despite his being branded a “fop” who goes over like a lead balloon by the all-powerful John Mack. He’s also been called “Gollum-y” by Dr. Michael Eades. And NBC has questioned whether his medical credentials are all they’re hyped up to be. But there’s something else that bugs us about Jarvik’s commercials: the audio track. Is it just me, or does it sound like Jarvik’s lines have been dubbed over later rather than recorded along with the video? It’s creepy.

19 Nov: Does Big Pharma create mental illness for profit?

Is Big Pharma the new version of the military-industrial complex we’ve been warned about since the days of President Eisenhower? Yes, says Max Blunt of Radical Left: Chalmers Johnson said about the US military-industrial complex: “I guarantee you when war becomes that profitable, you are going to see more of it.” In exactly the same way, as mental illness has become extremely profitable, we are seeing more of it…There are other parallels between the military-industrial complex and the psychopharmaceutical-industrial complex. Vital to the profits of both are supportive U.S. government regulatory, research, and purchasing agencies. There is nothing more important for a drug manufacturer than FDA approval and so it is common sense that a pharmaceutical company will spend whatever…

27 Sep: Welcome, doctors!

eMarketer reports: Pharmaceutical sites aimed at consumers are drawing as many as 20% to 30% of their visits from physicians, according to Manhattan Research. Manhattan Research CEO Mark Bard told eMarketer that some of that traffic has been out of necessity. Online marketing to physicians has not been as widespread as direct-to-consumer marketing, and product information sites are just now being supplemented by other features like search.

17 Aug: Drug ad spending up 330 percent since 1996

Since the rule change in 1996 that allowed Big Pharma to begin advertising directly to consumers, drug advertising budgets have exploded — while policing of such ads for accuracy has steadily declined, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The thing I find most troubling about the report is that even though we have far more drug commercials now than in 1996, fewer drug companies have been reprimanded for their ads. In 1996, 142 warning letters were sent out by the FDA. Last year, there were only 21. Either the drug companies are making flawless ads, or someone isn’t doing their job. Which do you think it is?