Pfizer tops in DTC spending with $1.1B

Has pharma's DTC spending bottomed out? If you look at the trend line over the past few years, it appears so. Last year, consumer ad spending rose by 1.9 percent to $4.5 billion over 2008 spend. This increase came after two straight years of big declines, with the biggest growth coming in cable advertising and online.

The biggest DTC categories--television and magazines--were virtually flat for 2009 overall, Medical Marketing & Media reports, with TV growing by 0.6 percent and magazines falling by the same amount. But the allocation of TV ads changed quite a bit. Spending on network TV dropped by almost 6 percent, while cable TV ad spend grew by 17 percent to $861 million.

Given that cable audiences tend to be more segmented, the migration of money to those channels shows that drugmakers are carefully targeting their TV spending. Plus, cable TV spots are cheaper than premium network television advertising. "Cable has a perception of efficiency," Nielsen SVP Fariba Zamaniyan tells MM&M.

The biggest pharma spenders? Pfizer came in first place with $1.1 billion, 37 percent more than in 2008. AstraZeneca came in a distant second with $371 million, also a 37 percent increase. Rounding out the top three: Eli Lilly wth $350 million, down 11 percent.

- read the MM&M piece