Below, a review of last year's 10 best DTC ads, excerpted from MM&M's April cover story, "DTC Report: DTC Unbound," which will be viewable online on Wednesday, March 25. Mary Skoyles reports
Demonstrating just how badly mainline agencies are suffering from the recession, Omnicom Group reported that Q4 net income was down 13.7% to $271 million from $313.9 million for the period a year ago.
Bausch & Lomb launched a targeted ad campaign aimed at seniors for its new Crystalens intraocular lens for cataracts.
Steven Nissen, head of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic, wrote in the journal Nature that DDMAC "needs the right to restrict direct-to-consumer advertising during the first two years a drug is marketed and to preview advertising to ensure it is not misleading."
To leverage social media effectively, the drug industry will have to transform its commercial model, said panelists at the ePharma Summit.
Pfizer moved the consumer advertising business for Chantix to McGarryBowen, ending McCann HumanCare's contract on the smoking cessation drug.
The FDA is weighing requiring DTC TV ads to carry a toll-free number for adverse events reports and is surveying 1,600 consumers to find out what they think, the Associated Press reported.
Consumer advertising "was the single worst decision for the industry," according to Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO William Burns at a conference in London early last month.
Spending on DTC launch campaigns dropped this year as companies waited longer to market fewer new drugs with more limited indications, said a TNS Media Intelligence report.
Attorneys at the Washington law firm of McDermott Will & Emery advised in October that companies wishing to avoid FDA challenges to drug ads and promotional pieces should review their materials in all therapeutic categories to determine whether they make implied outcomes claims.
The FDA's Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications (DDMAC) issued an untitled letter on a patient brochure for Amgen's Sensipar.
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) said DTC ads for devices should be regulated just as much as those for drugs and called on his colleague in the House, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), to work with him toward that end.
The FDA slapped Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals with a warning letter on two 60-second TV ads for its YAZ contraceptive.
FDA posted a guide to drug advertising on its site for consumers, "Be smart about prescription drug advertising."
A study of how DTC TV advertising impacted different populations in Canada suggested that ads may have little impact on consumers.
PhRMA sent a delegation of lawyers to meet with House Energy and Commerce Committee staffers to try and head off new regulations and discuss recent work on an update of PhRMA's DTC guidelines.
Warner Chilcott said it would "make much more limited use of DTC in support of our existing brands," relying instead on reps to drive market share gains
The FDA will test broadcast-style ads for a bogus blood pressure drug as part of a survey aimed at determining how visuals may distract viewers from risk information.
Johnson & Johnson is considering consolidating advertising and marketing for its pharmaceutical brands into one or possibly two companies, a J&J spokesperson told MM&M.
Parade Magazine's monthly health supplement, HealthyStyle, debuts Sept. 17, and the publisher hopes it will prove a lure for pharma advertisers.
A report by West Virginia's Pharmaceutical Cost Management Council said pharmas spent $16 million on DTC advertising in the state from July 2007 through December 2007.
Reps. John Dingell and Bart Stupak, who chair the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee thereof, respectively, praised Merck, Schering-Plough, Pfizer and J&J for agreeing to follow AMA guidelines regarding the use of docs in ads and to not advertise off-label uses of drugs.
Pfizer gathered capabilities info from its US consumer and professional advertising and PR agencies while issuing RFIs to some non-roster agencies, AdWeek reported.
The Federal Trade Commission has opened an investigation into the possible deceptive advertising and marketing of DTC genetic tests, according to The New York Times
All the fury over DTC drug ads emanating from Washington hasn't dented their credibility with consumers, according to Rodale's 11th annual Survey on Consumer Reaction to DTC Advertising of Prescription Drugs.
Merck agreed to submit all TV ads to the FDA before running them and to adhere to agency recommendations on them as part of a Vioxx-related settlement.
Four top pharmas told Reps. John Dingell and Bart Stupak that they would refrain from advertising new drugs to consumers for six months after they hit the market.
The American Medical Association's House of Delegates adopted a resolution calling for "appropriate organizations" to develop criteria for the advertising of DTC genetic tests
The American College of Medical Genetics issued guidelines on genetic testing aimed at consumers amidst rising DTC advertising of the services.
Cephalon reported that selling, general and administrative expenses jumped 30% in the first quarter to $199 million on DTC for narcolepsy drug Provigil (modafinil) and the launch of cancer drug Treanda (bendamustine hydrochloride).
VeriChip Corp., which makes radio frequency identification devices for healthcare and patient-related needs, launched its first DTC campaign in South Florida at the end of April, rebranding its patient identification system Health Link as part of the effort.
The FDA issued a warning letter to Pfizer for not mentioning the risks of impotence pill Viagra in a video ad on CNN.com.
Drug industry spend on consumer advertising dropped 3% in 2007 to $5.15 billion, from $5.31 billion in 2006, but spending on product advertising, particularly TV and print, continued to climb.
Merck's Gardasil team cleaned up at last month's Phame Awards, winning honors for Best Branded TV, Best Branded Print and Best Integrated Campaign on the strength of its "One less" campaign.
DTC spend is slowing, and consumer drug marketers project a shift in spending toward events, rebates/coupons and product placement this year, according to a survey by Cegedim Dendrite.
PhRMA president Billy Tauzin told The Pink Sheet that DTC ads have been resented because "in many cases, we were talking about new products that they couldn't afford," and said the group's Partnership for Prescription Assistance could help salve that anger.
A New England Journal of Medicine study found Zetia uptake rose much more quickly after introduction in the US than in Canada, and suggested DTC was the main culprit.
The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations said it doesn't want "push" TV, radio and print mass media for Rx drug info.
Arguing that most Americans don't know about the FDA's adverse events reporting program, Consumers Union said DTC ads should include a toll-free number that patients can use to report side effects to the FDA.
Congress is gearing up yet another investigation of consumer drug advertising.
Dr. Robert Jarvik berated The New York Times in a March 3 letter for calling him a "pitchman" rather than a "spokesman."
Sepracor said in reporting Q4 2007 results, 2008 revenues projected to be spent on sales, marketing and distribution expenses would likely decrease around 10% compared with 2007, despite planned launches.
Rx drug ads prompt nearly a third of Americans to ask their doctor about an advertised drug, and of those who ask, 82% get a prescription, according to a survey of 1,695 US adults by Kaiser Family Foundation, the Harvard School of Public Health and USA Today.
Ads featuring an animated bee and a talking beaver were the TV drug spots most recalled by consumers during 2007, according to advertising performance tracking firm IAG Research.
Pfizer pulled Lipitor ads featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik and vowed that it is "committing to ensuring greater clarity in the roles and responsibilities of its spokespeople in its consumer advertising and promotion."
A study by two Canadian researchers says US drug companies spend nearly twice as much on promoting their products ($57.5 billion in 2004) than they spend on research and development ($31.5 billion in 2004).
Consumers Union says ads for implantable medical devices should carry a warning about the possibility of dangerous infections or other adverse events once they are in the body, and that the warning should also cover a device's expected life span before failure occurs.
A congressional investigation of Pfizer's TV ad campaign for Lipitor, featuring artificial heart inventor Dr. Robert Jarvik, revealed that Pfizer guaranteed Jarvik $1.35 million for the campaign and employed a stunt double to depict him rowing.
Concentric Pharma Advertising is launching a consumer unit and has recruited former CCA Advertising executive director Mike Devlin to run it.
Sepracor has shifted its Lunesta DTC advertising business from McCann Erickson to Kaplan Thaler Group.
As US pharma continued its quest for a Grand Prix at the Lions Health international festival of creativity, MM&M went on location to Cannes, France. Missed our coverage from June? Now, we're giving you an opportunity to catch up on some of what you missed. Download our e-book on the two-day festival, recapping the event, rounding up the best of the speakers, offering perspective and listing all of the winners. Click here to download.
The most recent MM&M Skill Sets Live event surveyed a range of issues relating to one of the hottest promotional spaces in healthcare. Speakers and panelists at the morning-long session, including promotional- and multichannel-minded executives from GSK, Epocrates, Treato and Montefiore Medical Center, weighed in on topics designed to help marketers demystify the challenges associated with non-personal promotion. Click here.