Pharmaceutical Firms Pull Back on Print Outlay

When the economy began to climb out of recession, publishers of medical professional journals thought they were seeing a bit of a recovery. But since the start of this year, pharma companies have been pulling back on their print outlay. Some experts point to the lack of blockbuster drugs as the leading cause, but other industry watchers fear the long slow decline that has taken effect in most print sectors is occurring in the field of medical journals as well.

Through the first half of 2012, the ad spending by pharma companies in all healthcare magazines totaled $303 million, a drop of 13.9% from the same period last year. When the medical/​surgical publications are considered separately, the drop, from $201 million spent last year to $168 million spent this year, is even more significant. According to Kelly Sborlini, VP of syndicated market research operations at Encuity Research, “The average spend per brand in the first half of the year decreased by about $40,000”.  To counter the declining print outlay, some journals have moved to offer print and digital ads together and no longer sell print-​only ads. Publications that offer the bundled ad product believe they are ‘outperforming the market’ and expect the rest of the year will turn in improved numbers.

Analysts predict that up to 30+ new NMEs (new molecular entity) could be approved between now and 2016 which means that more promotions could be forthcoming. However, some of these new drugs will treat niche problems which narrow the opportunity for advertising. In addition, as medical professionals spend more time with mobile devices, marketers may increase their digital, not print, promotions.

[Source: Iskowitz, Marc. Pulp Friction. Mmm​-online​.com. 31 Aug. 2012. Web. 28 Sept. 2012] 
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.