TV dominating DTC spending

May 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

Television is now the most widely used medium for direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising, according to the latest study conducted by Market Measures Interactive, Livingston, NJ. In 2000, TV accounted for $949.5 million, 62% of all DTC ad dollars, up from the 57% of DTC budgets directed to TV in 1999. The rise in TV spending contrasts with a noticeable decline in DTC dollars directed to print media, including magazines and newspapers. As of September 2000, print media were attracting only 36% of DTC dollars - a drop from the 42% spent on DTC print ads in 1999.

Television is now the most widely used medium for direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising, according to the latest study conducted by Market Measures Interactive, Livingston, NJ. In 2000, TV accounted for $949.5 million, 62% of all DTC ad dollars, up from the 57% of DTC budgets directed to TV in 1999. The rise in TV spending contrasts with a noticeable decline in DTC dollars directed to print media, including magazines and newspapers. As of September 2000, print media were attracting only 36% of DTC dollars - a drop from the 42% spent on DTC print ads in 1999.

As TV brings in more DTC dollars, it delivers greater awareness. According to the study, 61% of DTC awareness among consumers is attributed to television exposure (up from 19% in 1997), while only 38% comes from magazine exposure.

Brand-specific requests

The percentage of consumers who contacted their doctors after seeing a DTC ad rose slightly from 20% in 1999 to 21% in September of 2000. The conditions contributing most to the increase in contact rates include vaginal yeast infection, cancer, chronic bronchitis and Alzheimer's disease.

Ads that contain new information are most likely to boost doctor contact rates, the study revealed. Consumers who perceive that an ad includes new information are more than twice as likely to contact their physicians as those who do not think an ad provides any new facts.

Even more significant than the rise in contact rates is the increase in the percentage of responding consumers who asked their physicians to write a prescription for the advertised product. The percentage of consumers making brand-specific requests to their doctors went up from 46% at the end of 1999 to 50% in September of 2000. Of those who made a request, 70% received a prescription for the brand they wanted - slightly down from the 1999 year-end figure of 73%.

"Proactive consumers can be a pharmaceutical company's strongest ally in the doctor's office," according to Peter Johnsen, MMI's vice president of DTC services. "If patients ask for a product, they will most likely receive it." PR

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