CV, asthma brands take meeting lead

Although a popular part of the mix for some brands, meetings drew fewer dollars from pharma's coffers last year, according to research.

In the US, drug makers spent $2.1 billion on meetings—both promotional and non—in 2012, a 2% decline from 2011, reported Cegedim Strategic Data, which estimated pharma's overall promotional outlay to be $27 billion, 8% less than the prior year.

CSD defines a meeting as anything that is not a one-on-one sales detail: local events, hospital presentations, CME, conferences, e-meetings and teleconferences.

Among those brands that made the heaviest use of the channel were cardiovascular drugs. Many of these were also among the meds with the largest overall marketing budgets.

AstraZeneca statin Crestor, no. 4 on the list of most-promoted brands, allocated 6% of its budget to meetings; Boehringer Ingelheim's blood thinner Pradaxa, no. 5 on the heavy-hitters list, devoted 9%; and Forest Labs' BP med Bystolic, no. 7, committed 6%, CSD found.

The other category making big use of meetings last year was asthma/COPD.

These drugs included GlaxoSmithKline's bestseller Advair, AZ's Symbicort and BI's Spiriva—nos. 3, 8 and 10, respectively, on the list of top drug brands by level of overall promotion.

(For an analysis of trends among brands in the respiratory space, see MM&M's Therapeutic Focus: Respiratory feature on p. 40).