It’s near impossible to go through a TV show without a prescription ad popping up. The ads have become a new normal such that many often find themselves a single for prescription drugs even before the doctor prescribes them. The drug advertising industry has sky rocketed and continues to do so. While many industries have gone into a plateau when it comes to advertising spend, the drug industry continues to increase their ad spend. Since 2012, media analyst Kantar Media says spending is up 64 percent. This figure makes sense seeing as the medication being advertised represents a brand and such medication could go for hundreds of dollars bringing in a lot of revenue within a month.
The drug industry hasn’t always been so lucrative. As a matter of fact, before the year 1997, the FDA tightly regulated pharmaceutical drugs to the point that nearly none existed at the time. During that time pharmaceutical reps went door to door trying to get doctors to purchase their medications. But now it’s a different story altogether according to Kantar, Pharma is the seventh-largest ad category in America, rackingup $6.4 billion in growth.
The FDA still reviews pharmaceutical ads but they are not always able to do so before the ads are allowed run online or across TV screens. This means that millions of viewers could see these ads before the FDA makes a concrete decision as to whether the ads should stay on air.
This ad space continues to grow. In the early nineties, ads features common ailments such as flu but now there is more focus on less common diseases in addition to the common ones.
The American Medical Association called for a complete ban of these advertisements in 2015, saying in part, “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”