Big Pharma, Give the Ads a Rest!

If you routinely spend time watching commercial TV networks, it’s obvious that the barrage of big pharma ad battles is getting increasingly annoying. Apparently, we are flummoxed by which medication is best for our “moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.” Is it Otezla, Taltz, Humira, Cosentyx or Stelara? This makes your average Joe (not seeking multiple skin condition medication choices) desire a feedback loop to big pharma to tell them how annoying their commercials are.

The challenge is big pharma is heavily motivated. These are expensive pills. For reference, you can check out the “Cost of Advertised Drugs” section of this article. Consequently, the amount being spent on related medication ads is staggering.  According to this statistical source, big pharma is spending $5 billion dollars a year on it.  Which is blatantly reflected in their irritatingly constant presence on TV.

On top of the irritation, ad claims are frequently overblown and misleading (see People’s Pharmacy story for examples). There is a reason why the U.S. and New Zealand are the only countries where TV drug ads are even allowed.  Doctors in other countries don’t have to struggle with educating inquiring patients about the appropriateness of an ad-based proposed medication – nor deal with that same patient coming back to the doctor’s office complaining about the side effects both the ads (listing them off rapidly in a low tone) and their physician had already warned them could occur.

Thankfully, there is growing protest out there on this subject. You can email your congressman to get behind new proposals aimed at hurting big pharma with taxes on direct to consumer advertising. Big pharma does have a massive lobbying presence but counter efforts continue. So, shooting off that email to Rep or Senator X is one thing you can do to support persuading big pharma to quiet down that pesky plaque psoriasis TV battle.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on big pharma ads, so drop us a line.

Mark Salow, Marketing Consultant