BAN direct-to-consumer advertising by Big Pharma

BAN direct-to-consumer advertising by Big Pharma

August 6, 2020
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Signatures: 385Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Mike M

The top 10 US based drug manufacturers recently took in a combined annual $245 billion in revenue, a figure that has increased steadily every year. Big Pharma's ever-recurring explanation for this is they have to raise drug prices because they need more money for research and development. Since 2012, Pfizer - one of the biggest ad spenders - has increased the price of its pain management drug Lyrica by 163%. However, Pfizer spent nearly 8% LESS on R&D than it spent on advertising alone. The drug giant dedicated a whopping 67% less to R&D than advertising, corporate overhead and profits combined.

In 2018, spending on advertising for the top five selling brand name prescription drugs climbed 5% over the previous year.  Overall, studies have found that more than 19 cents of every Big Pharma revenue dollar goes to direct-to-consumer marketing — $47 billion for just the top 10 drug makers. Pfizer won the distinction of being the worst offender. 

This affects everyone, whether you are covered by Medicare, a private insurance plan, or worse, one of the ever-increasing uninsured. Prescription drug plans pass these costs on to the consumer, and the uninsured are faced with an astronomical charge to get the medicine that at least may greatly increase quality of life, if not possibly save it.

I was recently diagnosed with DVT (blood clots) in the lower leg. It was my doctor, not me, who determined that the best course of treatment was a three month regimen of the drug Eliquis, a blood thinner under patent by Pfizer. My out-of-pocket cost was $88, but the drug plan's cost was $1,175 - for a total of $1,263. So, about $240 of that payment will go towards bombarding me with incessant ads urging me to ask my doctor if Eliquis is right for me. 

This insanity has to stop. 

Globally, every country except the US and New Zealand has outlawed direct-to-consumer drug ads. Big Pharma doesn't want this because studies have found that many patients actually follow their ad nauseam advice to “ask your doctor” if a specific brand name drug "is right for you" when they’ve seen ads for that medication on TV or online. It is not the general public's responsibility to suggest to a medical professional what medication, if any, is needed for their condition based on ads they've seen on TV. Congress has failed to take action on this, because they receive huge sums of money in campaign donations from Big Pharma to enable this wasteful spending. They are bought and sold representatives of the drug companies, when they are supposed to be representatives of we the people.

These drugs are also awarded longstanding patents, preventing lower-priced generic equivalents from being offered for years. This creates monopolies that enable opportunistic price gouging by these soulless corporations whose only concern is how much money they can extract from you to keep you alive. It's long past time for your government to stop providing lip-service of "more affordable health care" and actually do something about the problem. 

BAN direct-to-consumer advertising by Big Pharma.

The top 10 drug ad expenditures by Big Pharma in 2019:

1. Humira    (Abbvie)
2. Xeljanz   (Pfizer)
3. Dupixent (Regeneron)
4. Chantix   (Pfizer)
5. Emgality  (Eli Lilly)
6. Ozempic  (Novo Nordisk)
7. Eliquis     (Pfizer)
8. Keytruda (Merck)
9. Otezla     (Celgene)
10.Trulicity  (Eli Lilly)



Global Data

Kantar Media

Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing


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Signatures: 385Next Goal: 500
Support now