Big Pharma is spending almost twice as much money on promotion as it does on research and development of new drugs – contrary to what they say. And the effects of all this promotion can be seen across the country where tens of thousands of prescription drug problems are treated at drug detox and drug rehab centers.
In 2004, according to researchers at Canada’s York University, Big Pharma spent nearly 25% of their $235.4 billion in sales, or about $60 billion, promoting its drugs – and that’s probably an underestimate, the researchers said. But in spite of the industry’s claims that research and development far exceeds all other costs, R&D expenditures were only 13.4%. The relentless marketing of drugs to the public as well as to doctors can’t help but be a factor in the soaring rates of prescription drug addictions and numbers of people requiring prescription drug detox and drug rehab.
Because of the endless television, print, radio and internet advertising, prescription drugs have become a way of life for most Americans. But Big Pharma’s promo costs are not just for advertising, they also include many other promotion activities. For example, Big Pharma promotes its brands directly to individual doctors in the hope their drug will be prescribed over another company’s drug. The industry averaged $61,000 per doctor promoting its drug brands to physicians across the country in 2004, the study said. Yet doctors and medical staffs can have trouble keeping up with all the drugs, according to articles in medical journals, causing mistakes such as wrong drug combinations, overdoses, and even addictions that result in patients becoming dependent or addicted and needing drug detox or drug rehab.
The authors limited their study to the United States because it is the only country for which sufficient information is available. The US is the world’s largest market for pharmaceuticals, representing 43% of global sales and promotion expenditures. With over 22 million prescription drug abusers, according to the Centers for Disease Control, America also probably has the most prescription drug deaths, addictions and prescription drug rehab treatments in the world. As for why our health care costs are also the highest in the world, one need look no further for at least one of those reasons: Big Pharma passes along its promotional costs to us in the price of its drugs.
The study claims that Big Pharma is market-driven, far from the research-driven, life-saving health-care industry it claims to be. But of course, we already know that by the increasing numbers of injuries and deaths caused by prescription drugs, and the sky-rocketing number of people needing a prescription drug rehab program.