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Drugs, Advertising, and Risks Associated with Direct to Consumer Ads

| Oct 23, 2013 | Drug and Medical Device Litigation

If you have watched a news program, sporting event, or network television show recently you have seen multiple ads for drugs or devices that will change your life.  Whether it is “Larry the cable guy” for the “purple” pill, a handsome athletic looking couple looking for the right moment assisted by a “blue” pill, an ex NFL star talking about men wearing adult diapers, or grabbing that inhaler, ads about drugs and devices are a staple of American life.  According to Nielsen, the ratings service, an average of 80 drug ads air every hour on American television.  In 2007, the industry spent 3.1 billion on TV ads.  In 2011, the industry spent $2.4 billion.  In the first six months of 2013, the top ten companies spent 1.5 billion on television and total spent in 2012 was 3.47 billion on all forms of advertising.

The ads generally extol the benefits of the drug, and often ask you to ask your doctor about the product.  Many of the ads race through potential side effects in a way that renders them meaningless as the active parties in bucolic scene or happy faces plant the seed this drug or device is the key to your better health.  Some Doctors have voiced concerns that the ads overstate the benefits or downplay the risks while creating pressure on Doctors from their patients to prescribe what they just saw on TV.

Meanwhile, drug manufacturers spend a fortune on detailing doctors to influence their medication prescriptions, or device use.  Documents produced in many mass tort cases demonstrate how much these companies spend taking doctors to sporting events, golf trips, opera, weekly lunches for the staff and countless other promotional costs.

In 2013 the top ten TV advertisers were:

  1. Pfizer (Celebrex, Viagra, Lyrica)
  2. Eli Lilly (Cialis, Cymbalta)
  3. AbbVie (Humira, Androgel)
  4. Merck (Gardasil, Nasonex, Zostavax)
  5. Amgen (Enbrel, Prolia)
  6. Astra Zeneca (Crestor, Nexium)
  7. Allergan (Restasis, Botox)
  8. Otsuka Pharmaceutical (Abilify)
  9. GlaxoSmithKline (Advair)
  10. Johnson & Johnson (Xarelto, Stelara)

Click here to read the full article: Top 10 DTC Pharma Advertisers

In 2012, Lipitor was the second most advertised but it lost patent protection and is no longer the source of big ad dollars. For years, Pfizer made a huge investment in Lipitor and its sales soared.  We have seen this same story played out over the years with Merck’s Vioxx, Fosamax, GSK’s Avandia, and Johnson & Johnson and others transvaginal mesh.

Lipitor is the source of a well-documented continuing controversy as numerous medical studies and scientific articles have linked it to diabetes especially in women with Body Mass Index of 30 and below.  Also, countless women have filed suits over their contracting diabetes while using Lipitor.

The Brandi Law Firm is currently representing numerous women who contracted diabetes while taking Lipitor and are pursuing claims on their behalf.  If you or a loved one have taken Lipitor and been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, based on medical studies, there is a potential claim against the manufacturer.  If you would like more information, please contact the Brandi Law Firm by e-mail or call 415-989-1800 or (800) 481-1615.