The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found out that spending on advertising in the health sector over the past 20 years in the United States almost doubled: from $ 17.7 billion in 1997 to $ 29.9 billion in 2016.
The growth driver for advertiser costs was the promotion of prescription drugs. In 2016, $ 9.6 billion was allocated for these purposes. A significant proportion of the budgets accounted for the advertising of medicines among health care workers, despite the limitations. In 2016, advertisers spent $ 20.3 billion cumulatively on this promotion channel.
“Although marketing can have positive effects, such as de-stigmatization of diseases or uncomfortable symptoms, it can also“ expand ”or even“ create ”diseases, raise false expectations, exaggerating the effects of therapy, for example, as in the case of advertising ineffective drugs from Alzheimer's disease, ”wrote study co-author Dr. Stephen Voloshin of the New Hampshire Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.
The cost of advertising drugs, according to the authors of the study, is comparable to the budget of the National Institutes of Health - $ 30 billion - and many times exceeds the budget of the FDA, which amounts to only $ 5 billion.
The authors clarify that their calculations do not take into account other expenses, such as training and salary of sales representatives, lobbyists, research and various campaigns. Among other expenses for medical advertising is the promotion of Obamacare medical insurance, which is opposed by US President Donald Trump. In September 2017, the Ministry of Health and Social Services reported a 90% reduction in government funding for advertising this type of insurance.