The History of #Pharma Marketing from Cancer Cure Potions to "Cancer Cure" Drugs | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |
Discover the history of pharmaceutical marketing -- from the days of snake oil sales tactics to today's heavy regulation.

From the viewpoint of the pharmaceutical companies, direct-to-consumer marketing is advantageous for consumers. They argue that it helps to educate patients about different drug options, it encourages patients to get in touch with -- and have a dialogue with -- health care providers, and it helps to reduce the under-diagnosis (and under-treatment) of medical conditions.

Detractors would counter, however, that direct-to-consumer marketing often leaves patients misinformed, that it over-emphasizes the benefits that drugs provide, and that it leads to the unnecessary prescribing and over-utilization of drugs. Furthermore, the opposition contends that this type of marketing can strain patient/doctor relationships. (Just imagine someone watching a 30-second commercial and then trying to convince a doctor -- with 30 years experience -- that taking X drug is the best course of action.)

So, which side is correct in their assessments of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing? That's not for me (or this article) to say. Instead, I'm going to focus on the history of pharmaceutical marketing, and explore how we went from simple print ads to the side effects-filled TV spots that we know (and mock) today.

But first, here's a quick breakdown of the different types of drug ads that pharmaceutical companies produce. Getting familiar with these ad types will help you better understand how (and why) the government would eventually start regulating pharmaceutical marketing.