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Big Pharma pushes $ 20B each year to schmooze docs, $ 6B on drug ads



  Big Pharma pushes $ 20B each year to schmooze docs, $ 6B on drug ads

Talk to your doctor … It's a common waiver at the end of any drug or disease control advertising. Instantly, it seems like a responsible proposal. Talking to your own trusted physician can help you determine if a new drug is right for you, or if you are suffering from an undiagnosed disease. You should not just take the word of the drug company behind the drug advertisement or awareness campaign, of course .

But the suggestion to consult with your doctor may not be as innocent as it seems. The pharmaceutical company is likely to come to your doctor first.

Of the nearly $ 30 billion that the healthcare company now spends on medical marketing each year, about 68 percent (or about $ 20 billion) goes to persuade doctors and other doctors ̵

1; not consumers – of the benefits of prescription drugs. It is according to an in-depth analysis published in JAMA this week. The study broke down exactly how health companies convinced us to spend huge sums on our care between 1997 and 2016. At that time, health companies were spending $ 17.7 billion to $ 29.9 billion on medical marketing. At the same time, US health spending was hit by $ 3.3 billion, or 17.8 percent of GDP, in 2016.

It is not surprising to note that pharmaceutical companies usually spend most of their marketing on charming doctors. In 1997, a lot of 88 percent ($ 15.6 billion of their total $ 17.7 billion) of medical marketing went to swaying doctors, according to the analysis. And the way in which the pharmaceutical companies remind doctors has not changed much either. They do so to a great extent by sending sales representatives to medical office for face-to-face, free drug testing and other swag, payments for speech, food and drink, travel and host disease "education".

What's new – and why this is now a shadier situation – is the explosion of direct marketing (DTC) marketing that is linked to these efforts for a one-two marketing stop. DTC advertising more than quadruplets in the analysis timeframe. That means that money spent on DTC mostly TV commercials and glossy magazine ads went from $ 2.1 billion in 1997 to $ 9.6 billion in 2016. Of the $ 9.6 billion, about $ 6 billion was for the marketing of prescription drugs , found the analysis.

The boom in DTC ads "increases the need for clinics to help patients understand product requirements, medical needs, costs, and non-medical options," said health policy experts Selena Ortiz, Pennsylvania State University and Meredith Rosenthal, Harvard. In accompanying editorial in JAMA the couple notes that this increased dependence on doctors may be filled with pitfalls, as doctors may be biased and misled by marketing just like consumers, previous research found. This suggests that professionals may need further training or support to act as an arbitrator for fraudulent marketing, they write.

In the end, "confidence in doctors and healthcare institutions can be at stake on medical marketing … continues to increase uncontrollably,

Punchy marketing

The authors of the analysis-Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin, health political experts in Dartmouth highlight a particular finding of "find-a-doctor" practice in some ads. These features "help consumers find prescribers, an approach that has raised ethical issues by creating a conflict of interest about whether prescribers earn patients or businesses," they write. For example, they note the websites of the weight loss drug Contrave and the hypoactive sexual desire drug Addyi, which would allow patients to plan telemedicine visits to "complete your medical practice from your own home privacy". "19659003] Even without such clear links between doctors and businesses, DTC marketing and awareness campaigns up poor weakness of patients and regulatory practice, Schwartz and Woloshin note. A 2005 study showed that patients were more than twice as likely to receive prescriptions for an antidepressant drug or adjustment disorder if they only told their doctor: "I looked at this television program about depression and wondered if you thought that one drugs would help me "Even if they didn't say something like that (76 percent compared to 31 percent).

The authors also point out that coordinated marketing campaigns are even stronger and the devastating opioid epidemic now raging across the country is a good example. In the 1990s, while drug advocates disadvantaged medical experts on the abuse potential of Oxycontin and promoted off-label use of the powerful painkiller, drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma launched aggressive awareness campaigns and opioid pain relief programs for chronic, non-cancerous pain. Between 2000 and 2015, opioid prescriptions and overdose were celebrated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate that approximately 46 people die daily from prescription opioid overdoses.

With the risks clear, Schwartz and Woloshin looked at the regulatory activities of the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission and the state lawyers in general. They found an inadequate response to the skyrocketing medical marketing across the board. The FDA's Office of Prescription Drug Promotion, which regulates consumer and professional promotional materials, actually saw a reduction in regulatory activity. Although posts increased from 34 182 in 1997 to 97 252 in 2016, the shortcomings failed from 156 to 11 in the respective years. The result "suggests the possibility of minor oversight," the authors may say, because the FDA reviewer may be "overwhelmed by the massive increase in advertising".

Overall, the conclusion is that "despite the increase in marketing over 20 years, regulatory oversight is still limited."

JAMA 2018. DOI: 10.1001 / jama.2018.19320 (About DOIs).


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