Pharmaceutical companies in the US spend almost twice as much on medicine promotion activities as they do on research and development (R&D) initiatives, says a report.
The new finding is based on a comparison of data compiled by two market research companies, namely, IMS and CAM, which was merged into the Cegedim Group, another market research company in 2005.
It contrasts estimates from IMS, which is often referred to by the US General Accounting Office in concluding that "pharmaceutical companies spend more on research and development initiatives than on all drug promotional activities."
There are many concerns about the accuracy of the IMS data compiled through surveys of firms, creating the possibility that companies may systematically underestimate some of their promotional costs to enhance their public image.
It even does not include the cost of meetings and talks sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, featuring either doctors or sales representatives as speakers.
The new study provides an important argument to petition in favour of transforming the workings of the industry in the direction of more research and less promotion.