Drug marketing costs double R&D

Every self-respecting pharma exec will tell you: R&D is the industry's peculiar burden, the chief reason why brand-name drugs are so expensive. But the average Joe or Jane consumer thinks that's, er, a lot of bunk. It's marketing that drives the costs of their meds ever upward.

Now, a couple of academics have the figures. After combing through market research, they found that pharma spent $57.5 billion on marketing in 2004--almost twice the $31.5 billion spent on research that year, according to the National Science Foundation. And the research numbers include public funding, not just company expenses.

The data "confirms the public image of a marketing-driven industry," the study authors wrote. It also shows that the industry needs to be redirected toward research and away from brand-building, they wrote. Just how might that redirection happen? They didn't say.

- see this release release
-get the journal article from PLoS Medicine