The U.S. is one of only two countries that allow direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of pharmaceuticals, and opinions on whether doing so is a good idea are all over the place, even among doctors. Physicians complain that television ads overstate benefits and lead patients to pressure them to prescribe drugs they may not need. But they also acknowledge that the promotions can deflate the stigma of receiving treatment for some conditions, depression for example, and that is a good thing. Critics complain that drugmakers spend more on marketing than on research and development, a good soundbite in its own right, but one that is hard to verify.
Drugmakers put much more money into other forms of marketing, like detailing to doctors, and DTC advertising has been on the wane in recent years; it fell 11.5% to $3.47 billion in 2012. Still, Nielsen, which supplied the advertising numbers for this report, estimates an average of 80 drug ads air every hour of every day on American television. The top 10 pharma advertisers did spend $1.5 billion in the first 6 months of 2013, which is not exactly chump change.
Whatever your opinion, it is always fascinating to see who those top pharma advertisers are and which products they chose to push. And it can be fun to watch their ads. We present here the top 10 pharma advertisers for the first half of 2013, the most recent data available from Nielsen. We've included financial data on the top two or three products that they advertised. We also have links to the TV ads, courtesy to our readers from AdPharm, a company that tracks them for the advertising and pharmaceutical industries.
Please read the report below, then share any insights you have through the usual channels: leave a comment, send a Tweet or post a comment in our LinkedIn group. Also, check out last year's report. We would like to hear from you. -- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)