Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Medicine Men Dispense Vitamin C -- as in 'Cash'

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Medicine Men Dispense Vitamin C -- as in 'Cash'

Article excerpt

Targeted ads for new drugs a shot in the arm

Newspapers seek a stimulant as TV gets big dose of dollars

Turn on the TV and you will frequently see pharmaceutical ads. Open your daily newspaper and you might see one.

That's the way it is with direct to consumer (d-to-c) pharmaceutical advertising, as companies spend the bulk of their budgets on TV ever since the Food and Drug Administration relaxed restrictions on TV advertising in 1997.

The numbers are glaring, with more than $300 million spent on all forms of TV for the first half of 2000 -- and only $4.7 million spent on newspapers, according to Competitive Media Reporting (CMR). The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) in Washington reports that $1.8 billion was spent on d-to-c pharmaceutical advertising last year, with $1.1 billion on TV. Less than $7 million was spent last year on newspapers, said CMR.

Despite the large deficit, some newspapers express hope for the category.

"We compete heavily against broadcast, and we've had some success," said Gordon Prouty, director of national advertising at The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Revenue in the medical category is nearly double from a year ago."

Newspapers are benefiting from the glut of pharmaceutical advertising now taking place. "So many new drugs are coming out, [and] newspapers are a natural place to go," said Mary Dowling, vice president and sales director at the Newspaper National Network, which places pharmaceutical advertising in newspapers. …

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