A US study has revealed that drug companies now spend 2.6 times 1996 levels on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising for drugs in the US.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health found that total spending on pharmaceutical promotion increased to USD 29.9bn in 2005 from USD 11.4bn in 1996, or an annual growth rate of 10.6 per cent.
DTC advertising, which began back in 1996, has increased by 330 per cent over the past ten years.
The Pittsburgh team examined industry data from three market-research firms which track advertising spending by the pharmaceutical industry.
Study leader, Julie Donohue said: "Our analysis found that the trend toward increasing spending on direct-to-consumer advertising is likely to continue and efforts to enforce more stringent guidelines on such practices would require not only significant changes by the pharmaceutical industry but by the FDA as well."