Pharma advertising down 6% in 2008

Last week, we heard a top Roche executive slam the industry's decision to enter the world of direct-to-consumer (DTC). This week, we hear that big pharma ads are, in fact, down.

TNS Media Intelligence said that pharma spending on advertisements dropped 6 percent in the first two-thirds of 2008 to $3.2 billion. DTC ad spending had been increasing in the years before, reaching $5.4 billion at the highpoint in 2006. TMI said spending on new drugs dropped 7 percent this year, but spending on already-there drug increased by 5 percent, perhaps due to fewer new drug approvals by the FDA.

While that Roche may still be suffering the industry-wide effects of Merck's Vioxx drama, it isn't like Roche itself has stopped DTC advertising. Now with Henry Waxman again pushing for advertising restrictions that are more stringent, it looks like we might soon have more commercials about junk food and fewer commercials about better living through big pharma.

- read the Pharmalot blog post