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Twice as Much Spent Marketing Drugs Over Researching New Ones

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, March 06, 2008 12:20 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Medical Devices, Drug Companies, Defective Drugs,

Drug companies spend twice as much on promotion as on research and development of new drugs a study finds.


  • Study "The Cost of Pushing Pills" January, 2008 here 

It may not come as a surprise if you watch television or read magazines, but a new study estimates that U.S. pharmaceutical companies spend twice as much marketing drugs as they spend in the research and development of new drugs.

The research comes out of York University in Toronto, Ontario and is titled "The Cost of Pushing Pills: A New Estimate of Pharmaceutical Promotion Expenditures in the United States." 

Researchers there collected data from 2004 surveying doctors and the drug companies. In it they find that while drug makers spend 24.4 percent of sales on promotion, 13.4 percent goes to research and development (R & D). 

U.S. drug sales are estimated at $235.4 billion annually.

That translates to $57.5 billion spent on total promotion by pharmaceutical companies in 2004 or about $61,000 per physician in promotion that year.

Data was collected from the IMS Health and CAM Group, two market research companies. 2004 was the last year for which data was available. Researchers assume that the estimates may be low as drug companies may underestimate data they provide to IMS.

The authors say they didn't even take into consideration off-label promotions or trials that promote the prescription of new drugs but may be accounted for in other categories.

Also not accounted for in the numbers are the increasing number of conferences and meetings sponsored by the drug companies that feature doctors as speakers. 

120,000 were reported in 1998, but the number of sponsored meetings rose to 371,000 in 2004, which further supports the report's conclusion that the U.S. drug companies are market-driven. #


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