It is hard to imagine another industry where the adage, ‘You have to spend money to make money’ is truer than in pharmaceutical advertising. The amount of money spent on advertising every year in America alone has now reached $240bn. According to a study published by Dartmouth College, drug companies are spending $9bn more per year on marketing than they were 20 years ago. The Washington Post also discovered that nine out of ten major pharmaceutical companies spend more on sales and marketing than they do on R&D.

Major players in the market Johnson & Johnson spent $17.5bn on marketing, and less than half that figure, $8.2bn, on R&D. Fellow American giant Pfizer spent over $11bn on marketing pursuits, almost $5bn more than they spent on research. However, the marketing of drugs is not without its pitfalls, particularly when it comes to issues facing the consumer. New research shows that 60% of online searches for pharmaceutical drugs leads to pages for fake medicines, putting consumers at serious risk of buying counterfeit products.

Many life sciences companies in the United States are exploring the growth opportunities offered by online direct-to-consumer drug advertising. As a result, they are increasing the shift towards promotional spending on digital promotions such as online display advertising, product websites and social media campaigns. Google are now allowing the advertisement of prescription drugs and HIV home tests across the country. As a result, the market is anticipated to reach a value of $8bn by 2024, at a projected CAGR of four percent over the forecast period of 2019-2024.

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