Pharma Spending Up 9%

Pharmaceutical companies boosted advertising spending by 9 percent in the first half of this year, with magazine spending registering the highest gain, TNS Media Intelligence reported yesterday.

Total pharmaceutical spending rose to $2.46 billion in the six-month period. In the first six months of 2005, spending was flat at $2.26 billion.

Jon Swallen, TNS research director, suggested that magazine advertising is up because it is easier to communicate drug side effects in print. Earlier this year, the pharmaceutical industry adopted voluntary guidelines to improve the accuracy and balance of ads.

This move came in the wake of Merck & Co.'s withdrawal of the heavily advertised pain medicine Vioxx, which was found to increase patients' risk of heart attack and strokes.

In the first six months of this year, according to TNS, magazines grabbed 34 percent of the total spent to advertise drugs--up from 29 percent in the year-ago period. Television ads captured 59 percent of budgets--down from 64 percent a year ago. Newspapers picked up 3 percent of total spending, compared to 2.9 percent in the year-ago period.



TNS also found that the time between a drug's approval and the launch of advertising has increased to about 15 months, as compared to a gap between six and nine months in 2004.

New campaigns were launched this year for all three erectile dysfunction drugs--Pfizer's Viagra, Eli Lilly's Cialis, and Levitra, from GlaxoSmithKline and Schering-Plough.

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