The other day, the US Congressional Budget Office issued a brief that spelled out the upside and downside of a moratorium on direct-to-consumer advertising (see here). That bottom line message suggested that DTC does offer a public health benefit and that drugmakers would likely shift much of their promotional efforts to doctors.
But a new survey suggests that DTC may have reached the proverbial point of diminishing returns, according to Cutting Edge Information, which queried 19 drugmakers and found that many, if given the opportunity, would spend additional promotional dollars in other ways.
Drugmakers surveyed say they make 14 percent more money by using DTC than if the advertising was discontinued and spending remained static for other promotional efforts. But the return on DTC is also lower than those other activities. As a result, none of the US-based marketing groups would increase their existing DTC spending even if given an extra 10 percent in their budgets.
In fact, patient adherence and provider support offer greater returns and, taken together, would grab more than one-third of any budget increase. In fact, the combined spending on provider support totaled 19 percent of the marketing budgets. And in the US, 35 percent of any 10 percent budget hike would be devoted to provider support. CME, however, is waning, with only 22 percent sponsoring accredited activities. On the other hand, 16 percent would allocate a budget increase to CME, possibly reflecting looser restrictions in countries beyond the US.
For the moment, though, DTC continues to dominate spending - on average, 24 percent of marketing budgets are used for DTC, dwarfing other efforts. The next largest chunk, 19 percent, goes to provider support, with samples and promotional speaking close behind at 18 percent. Non-accredited CME gets 15 percent. Which activity gets the smallest share? Disease education, at 7 percent.
And the continued dominance is not suprising. As Cutting Edge notes: "DTC advertising remains necessary to protect market share in the US for many common ailments, and it continues to be a cornerstone of marketing for brands treating these indications."
pic thx to mike licht on flickr