GSK to rein in DTC TV

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GlaxoSmithKline will ratchet down its DTC TV advertising in light of ongoing controversy around the medium, according to statements made by CEO Andrew Witty in The Wall Street Journal.

Without getting into specifics, Witty told the paper that the company would do less TV advertising in 2009 than it has in the past. He also noted that consumer advertising does help educate viewers on diseases and treatment options. 

Witty's decision to cut back on DTC TV spots comes as drug companies anticipate an increasingly stringent atmosphere for consumer advertising in Washington, as well as a dearth of new blockbuster drugs and a plague of patent expirations on old ones. GSK spent 23% less on consumer advertising during the first half of 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported -- due in large measure to a freeze on advertising of diabetes drug Avandia. 

Manufacturers spent 4% less ($3.69 billion) on consumer advertising during the first three quarters of 2008, down from $3.86 billion over the same period in 2007, according to Nielsen. In December, PhRMA tweaked its consumer advertising guidelines in an effort to blunt congressional momentum for new regulations on drug ads.

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