Friday, September 17, 2010

More -- On DTC Drug Promotions -- From Reuters, This Morning

On Monday (following the lead of others), Lilly launched what it hopes will be a socially-interactive LillyPad blog; Merck countered on Wednesday with a new iPhone app for diabetics. Earlier this summer, it launched a UV Ray Monitor app, and one for migrane sufferers.

Clearly, the lines are being redrawn -- in the mobile computing/interactive social media world -- and rocky shoals will inevitably loom where outdated, and outgunned, FDA regs are left to deal with all the new ways pharma manufacturers may reach out (often in the most intimate of ways), at the moment of care -- to people with health conditions.

Here's more from the Reuters article this morning:

. . . .Under the Obama administration, the FDA has vowed to crack down on increasingly aggressive marketing tactics -- both online and off. But even Abrams acknowledges the agency lacks the resources to sharply curtail misleading drug ads.

Downturn or no, the pharmaceutical industry hasn't been skimping on advertising. In 2009, companies spent a vast $4.8 billion to reach out to consumers in the United States -- the only country besides New Zealand that allows direct-to-consumer advertising -- up from nearly $4.7 billion the year before, according to tracking firm Kantar Media.

To drug companies, it is all part of patient education. But consumer advocates, some lawmakers and others see the barrage of ads as a way to push medicines that people may not need as well as raise the nation's overall healthcare costs. . . .

Indeed. Stay tuned.

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