(HealthDay News) — Among the top-selling US drugs, those with lower added clinical benefit ratings and higher total drug sales have higher manufacturer spending on direct-to-consumer advertising, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers assessed drug characteristics associated with a greater share of promotional spending on advertising directly to consumers. The analysis included the 150 top-selling branded prescription drugs in the United States in 2020, identified from IQVIA National Sales Perspectives data. Promotional spending data were included from IQVIA ChannelDynamics.
The 2020 median proportion of promotional spending allocated to direct-to-consumer advertising was 13.5%. The median promotional spending was $20.9 million, and the median total sales was $1.51 billion.
Due to missing data, the primary study sample consisted of 134 drugs. After adjusting for multiple drug characteristics, the mean proportion of total promotional spending allocated to direct-to-consumer advertising was an absolute 14.3% (P =.03) higher for drugs with low added clinical benefit than for drugs with high added clinical benefit and an absolute 1.5% (P =.005) higher for each 10% increase in total sales.
Most drugs with a clinical benefit assessment were rated as having a low added benefit (68%; 92/135).
“Among top-selling US drugs in 2020, a rating of lower added benefit and higher total drug sales were associated with a higher proportion of manufacturer total promotional spending allocated to direct-to-consumer advertising,” the researchers wrote. “Further research is needed to understand the implications of these findings.”
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