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.
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?
Dr. Herbert Keating of FearLessAging.net has a great feature in the Hartford Courant detailing the beginnings of DTC advertising by Big Pharma. Keating says it all started with the infamous Purple Pill, an “also-ran, me-too medication [that] became a pharmaceutical superstar.” Read the whole story here.
You know, there’s not a whole lot of difference between Big Pharma ads and their YouTube parodies, except for the budgets.
Wow, watch this sobering ABC news story that shows how we look to drug companies for health solutions, rather than take responsibility for our own health.
Here’s a great rant from Bill Maher on the pharmaceutical business:
Courtesy of Rob1963…
Still, I can’t resist posting this silly pharmaceutical commercial parody video.
Here’s a thoughtful blog post and accompanying YouTube video by Deepak Singh on the topic of “open source intelligence” and its applications in the pharmaceutical industry. Check it out.
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.
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…
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…
Great tease, huh? This 12-minute video argues that pharma marketers have persuaded people that they need antidepressants in the same way that early 20th-century marketers convinced women that pantyhose and shaved legs are necessary to be attractive. It’s interesting; check it out.
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…