Drug companies would likely expand their marketing efforts to physicians if a moratorium on direct-to-consumer advertising for newly approved prescription drugs were put into place, according to a report (PDF) from the Congressional Budget Office.
CBO looks at implications of tougher rules on consumer Rx marketing
An Institute of Medicine committee recommended in 2007 that the government require drug companies to refrain from DTC advertising for two years after a drug's approval.
From 1999 to 2008, pharmaceutical companies marketed to physicians and healthcare professionals 366 brand-name drugs within the first two years after the drugs received FDA approval, according to CBO data. Seventy-three of those drugs were promoted to consumers, with pharmaceutical companies spending an average of $71 million on direct-to-consumer advertising for each drug. In contrast, drugmakers spent an average of $54 million to promote each of the 366 drugs to physicians.
"An expanded effort to market the drugs affected by a (direct-to-consumer) moratorium to physicians would be a reasonable, but not perfect, substitute for (direct-to-consumer) advertising for many drugs. For some drugs, however, a moratorium might so significantly reduce the ability of physician-oriented marketing to increase sales that drug companies would spend less on marketing those drugs to physicians under such a moratorium," reported the CBO.
Other outcomes of the proposed moratorium could include prescriptions filled at a lower rate for some drugs and prices that would be more closely aligned with changes in demand.
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