“More ads! More ads!”

…said no one …ever. Turns out doctors are no exception. 2,784 physicians across 25+ specialties participated in a survey conducted by Manhattan Research about how physicians access information and use technology.  Doctors are not impressed with pharma websites. In fact, only 27% of doctors find pharma websites to be credible information sources. For all you non-math majors out there, that ain’t high. Physicians feel pharma-sponsored info on third-party sites is “always ads” when what they really want are “education resources rooted in science.” Maybe pharma will see this study, cut back on the ads, and up the educational content? That’ll happen about the time every other industry volunteers to do the same thing (P.S. that’s not gonna happen).

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2. Easier to understand – Quantum physics or DTC pharma ads?

Side effects of reading this might include… What does over $5 billion in DTC ad spending get drug makers these day? Answer: Confused patients. InCrowd surveyed 319 US physicians to gauge their views on patient understanding of DTC ads. 65% of the surveyed MDs said their patients do not generally understand info given in pharmaceutical ads. Only a measly 13% of docs said “most of my patients can interpret/understand” these ads. Brand managers won’t be jumping for joy over these stats.  While one-third of physicians would like to ban the ads completely, the other two-thirds think the ads should be improved. InsightCity would like to heartily congratulate any company that keeps the list of disclaimers under one minute.

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2. Warning letters with holiday stamps

The FDA is full of holiday cheer and to spread the love they sent two very special letters to Sanofi and Celgene. But these weren’t your typical happy holiday cards, unless you consider warning letters for misleading TV ads festive. We don’t, in case you’re thinking of sending us a present. Among the major health risks cited are how Sanofi’s Toujeo ad has fast-paced visuals that distract the consumer and how Celgene’s Otezla ad turns up the volume of the brass instrumental section as the narrator begins speaking three separate times. It’s Santa’s naughty list for these two. The FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion wants these violations to cease, so it looks like the regulatory department will be working overtime during the holidays.

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5. Uncomfortably cold…and flu

Alongside dropping temperatures, The Weather Channel has dropped its new Cold & Flu Tracker across their website and mobile app. The app’s purpose is to provide real-time virus activity to different areas so that users can act to protect themselves from getting sick. In addition to providing cold & flu information, it also provides some valuable marketing data to its sponsor, GlaxoSmithKline. Knowing which areas are most affected could help GSK decide where to ramp up marketing efforts. They can also use their position as the sponsor to offer suggestions on what to do if your area is suddenly hit with an outbreak… like possibly stopping by your local store to pick-up some Theraflu (©GSK). We see what you did there, clever marketers.

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4. _________ is up 20% year-to-date

What’s in the blank space, you ask? Not pharma sales, not R&D expense, but rather pharma industry spending on TV ads. This comes on the heels of 2015 where spending was up 20% over 2014. According to Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne, “We continue to see pharma spending as the fastest growing major ad vertical on TV.” There are two things to note from Swinburne’s analysis, the first is that digital spending seems to be moving back to TV and pharma is a major reason why. There is no value judgement here. However, more TV exposure might bring more attention to the pharma industry (and maybe drug prices). FYI, the average ad spend for the top 20 spending products = $155M per product in 2015.

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