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Direct-to-consumer ad spending by pharmaceutical companies, touting prescription drugs for everything from heartburn to depression to impotence, rose to $2.5 billion in 2000, from $791 million in 1996, according to a study released by the Menlo Park, Calif.-based Kaiser Family Foundation in December 2001. Since the Food and Drug Administration relaxed rules governing pharmaceutical advertising in 1997, the number of prescriptions dispensed annually per person in the U.S rose 24 percent, to an average of 10.8 prescriptions per person in 2000, up from 8.7 in 1996, suggesting the ads are doing their job. According to a consumer survey commissioned by Kaiser, conducted between August and September 2001, 30 percent of respondents say they have spoken with a doctor about a specific medication they saw advertised, and of those, 44 percent say their doctor gave them a prescription for the advertised drug. Talk about the power of advertising.

DAILY DOSAGE

Direct-to-consumer promotional spending by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

TELEVISION ADVERTISING (IN MILLIONS) PRINT AND OTHER ADVERTISING (IN MILLIONS) TOTAL (IN MILLIONS)
1996 $220 $571 $791
1997 $310 $759 $1,069
1998 $664 $652 $1,317
1999 $1,136 $712 $1,848
2000 $1,569 $898 $2,467
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
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