Daily Pharmacy News

Get your free subscription started now. Just enter your email address below.

Drug Characteristics & Manufacturer Spending on Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

Less clinical benefit and higher drug costs are significant predictors that a manufacturer will use direct-to-consumer advertising in its marketing efforts, a study shows. “Direct-to-consumer advertising may increase patient requests for advertised products and the likelihood of their prescription by clinicians,” the authors write. “Allocating a greater share of promotional spending to consumer advertising (vs promotions that target clinicians) may therefore reflect a strategy to drive patient demand for drugs that clinicians might be less likely to prescribe because either there are several similarly effective alternative treatments available or there is a more effective alternative available.”

The exploratory cross-sectional analysis included the IQVIA National Sales Perspectives 150 top-selling branded prescription drugs in the U.S. in 2020. IQVIA ChannelDynamics provided promotional spending data. Using a main outcome measure of the proportion of total promotional spending allocated to direct-to-consumer-advertising for each drug, the authors report: “The 2020 median proportion of promotional spending allocated to direct-to-consumer advertising was 13.5% (IQR, 1.96%-36.6%); median promotional spending, $20.9 million (IQR, $2.72-$131 million); and median total sales, $1.51 billion (IQR, $0.97-$2.26 billion). Of the 150 best-selling drugs, 16 were missing data and key covariates; therefore, the primary study sample comprised 134 drugs. After adjustment for multiple drug characteristics, the mean proportion of total promotional spending allocated to direct-to-consumer advertising for the remaining 134 drugs was an absolute 14.3% (95% CI, 1.43%-27.2%; P = .03) higher for those with low added clinical benefit than for those with high added clinical benefit and an absolute 1.5% (95% CI, 0.44%-2.56%; P = .005) higher for each 10% increase in total sales.”

Source: JAMA