Pharma Trimmed 2012 Promotional Spending by 8%, Research Firm Reports

According to the SK&A promotional audit, Cymbalta was the most heavily promoted Rx product in 2012.

Pharma marketers were a cautious lot in 2012. Even with a multitude of new products approved by the FDA last year, pharma companies allocated about $2 billion less for markting budgets than in 2011.

According to a report from Cegedim Strategic Data, marketers reduced their promotional spending for Rx drugs by 8% in 2012. This was an even steeper percentage decline than the cutbacks in promotional spending that took place in 2011, according to the report. Yet, pharma companies did spend more than $27 billion in the U.S. market on the promotion of drug products.

(To download a copy of this Cegedim report, click here. Note, registration required.)

The biggest cuts came in the areas of sampling (down 9%), print advertising (d0wn 44%) and direct-to-consumer advertising (down 22%).  Interestingly, the direct mail category last year enjoyed a double-digit increase in promotional spending, rising 16% to $1.16 billion. The boost in the direct mail category — the second consecutive yearly increase — would seem to be tied to the corresponding drop in spending in the “print” category, which we interpret as the professional journal market.

“Promotional spending in the pharmaceutical industry continued to decline in 2012, shedding dollars directed at consumers and expenditures supporting HCP detailing and sampling,” Cegedim reported.

The top three therapeutic areas — nervous system, cardiovascular, and alimentary tract and metabolism — in aggregate represented almost half of the $27 billion in promotional spending, according to Cegedim. The respiratory category ranked fourth with 12% of overall promotional spending, a 1% increase over 2011.

At the top of the company rankings, Pfizer continued to lead all pharma companies in U.S. promotional spending with about $2.4 billion in spending, but its share of the overall promotional market dropped by 2 percentage points to 9%. Merck ranked No. 1, with promotional spending of $2.1 billion, and its share of the market remained stable at 8%.

Pfizer ranks No. 1 among pharma companies with respect to promotional spending.


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