Pharma Advertisers Favor TV, But Digital Is Gaining Influence

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As the average age of U.S. consumers continues to increase, pharma companies are rolling out new drugs and therapeutic solutions. These companies are also spending more on advertising. Jacob Bell, writing for, reports that 70 drug companies have spent about $2.8 billion on advertising this year.

Pharma companies are partial to TV advertising. Michael Leszega, a market intelligence manager at Magna, says, “If you look at syndication or early morning or things like that, pharma now consists of at least a substantial minority of total advertising spend within those day parts.”

For consumers who are seeking relief from pain and diseases associated with old age, TV is an important resource. These folks are watching TV during the day, and they’re watching ads. They’re also likely to read the newspapers. Experts point out that these formats allow advertisers to easily list the information needed about the efficacy of treatments and any possible risks.

For that reason, advertisers spend 58% of their media budgets for oncology drugs on TV and 39% on print. Similarly, TV captures 75% of immunology spending and 20% of print. For the oncology category, online spending is 3% while for immunology, it’s five percent. Advertisers use these formats to connect with older consumers.

However, drug makers are starting to realize that online channels comprise a more effective way to target younger consumers. For example, in the HIV therapy area, online captures 20% of the media mix.

While debate continues about whether drug companies should continue to advertise directly to consumers, experts don’t believe the practice will change. In fact, they point to new treatments becoming available for Parkinson’s and other diseases as factors in driving future advertising. Analysts also predict that the loss of patent protection for some key drugs will increase the availability of more affordable generic versions. That development could also fuel pharma advertising.

Show your clients a profile of consumers who response to pharmaceutical advertising. Check out the report on AudienceSCAN, available at AdMall from SalesFuel.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.
October 5, 2018 Media + Marketing Tags: