The hubbub over this week's DTC advertising study would be more convincing if it had looked at more drugs than just one, writes Jim Edwards at BNet Pharma. The Archives of Internal Medicine published research Monday that examined the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis blood thinner Plavix; the study authors concluded that a major DTC advertising campaign had pushed up prices for the drug but hadn't increased sales by much. So, not only was the advertising expensive, it was also ineffective.
Hold on a second, BNet says. This study hinged on a price increase that took place in 2001, linking it with the DTC campaign. But prices for lots of drugs went up around the same time. Couldn't Plavix's price have changed for reasons apart from advertising? Other research has found no link between DTC and drug prices.
But the overweening problem with all this research is that it's too narrow. There's never been a large-scale study of DTC and its effect on demand and prices, BNet reports. If folks are so hungry for that information, maybe now is the time.