• Fact or Fiction?

  • Test your knowledge of marketing practices within the pharmaceutical industry with these seven questions about pharmaceutical promotion.

    To learn more, read our publication Fact or Fiction: Pharmaceutical Marketing in the European Union.
  • Question 1

  • Between 2000 and 2007, originator pharmaceutical companies spent an average of 17% of their turnover from prescription medicines on research and development (R&D) worldwide vs expenditure on marketing activities accounted for 23% of their turnover (European Commission, 2009).
  • 17%
    OF PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES' EXPENDITURE IS SPENT ON RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF MEDICATIONS
    23%
    OF PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES' EXPENDITURE IS SPENT ON MARKETING
  • Question 2

  • Kim Kardashian faced huge backlash in 2015 for promoting a medication known as Diclegis (doxylamine succinate–pyridoxine) she claimed helped alleviate her symptoms of morning sickness.
  • OMG. Have you heard about this? As you guys know my #morningsickness has been pretty bad. I tried changing things about my lifestyle, including my diet, but nothing helped, so I talked to my doctor. He prescribed me #Diclegis, I felt a lot better and most importantly, it’s been studied and there was no increased risk to the baby.”
    (Kim Kardashian via Instagram, 2015).
  • Question 3

  • The introduction of new digital technologies continues to change the way in which we access information. With the rise of smart devices, both healthcare professionals and consumers are increasingly reliant on the internet for medical information.
  • There are an estimated 32,500 online pharmacies worldwide selling prescription medications to patients, of which 96% are operating illegally” (ASOP Foundation, 2017).
  • Question 4

  • Health technology companies often engage renowned researchers and clinicians to “author” papers despite having little or no involvement in its writing or the research reported in it.
  • Speakers not only influence audience members’ prescribing behaviour, but also become more convinced themselves of the benefits of the products they endorse (Sah & Fugh-Berman, 2013).
  • Question 5

  • Digital marketing is changing the way pharmaceutical companies communicate with healthcare professionals through online events, product updates to their inbox, webinars, and leveraging customer service portals.
  • Digital marketing poses some important challenges to healthcare professionals. It reinforces companies’ direct contact with patients. The pharmaceutical industry is calling this the move towards ‘patient-centric’ care or ‘patient solutions’. At face value, this is in line with empowered consumers. But it also signals a potential shift away from healthcare professionals and towards the patient as a customer.
  • Question 6

  • “Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA), linked to inappropriate medication use and higher health care expenditures, is the fastest growing form of pharmaceutical marketing.” – Liang & Mackey, 2011
  • 109%
    THE INCREASE OF PHARMACEUTICAL MARKETING EXPENDITURE FOR DIRECT TO CONSUMER ADVERTISING ONLINE FROM 2005-2009
  • Question 7

  • Governments have more or less handed control of promotional activities to industry associations. Under self-regulation, pharmaceutical industry associations or multi-stakeholder organisations develop their own codes and put in place procedures to respond to complaints about advertising.
  • If a critical mass of healthcare professionals avoids being indebted to companies and if academic prestige equates to an arm’s-length relationship with the industry, “a new social norm may emerge that rejects transactions fraught with conflicts of interest” (Sah & Fugh-Berman, 2013).