For those of you who tuned into Grease Live, you were among the first to see a direct-to-patient ad for a specialized drug formulation. Historically, television ads have primarily depicted “lifestyle conditions”; those such as high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, and overactive bladder. However, there has been a shift in advertising as a result of a changing industry. Many branded pharmaceuticals are struggling to compete with generic competition, causing them to rely more heavily on revenues from specialty drugs. On January 31st, BMS’ aired their ad for Opdivo, a specialty drug indicated for lung cancer treatment.
This new wave of specialty drug ads have sparked controversy within the medical community, as some believe they are too negative to be mass-marketed, while others see them as promoting expensive drugs, despite the fact more cost efficient alternatives exist. Bob Ehrlich, CEO and Chairmen of DTC Perspectives, shared his thoughts with Wall Street Journal about the impact such ads have on insurance coverage. Ehrlich states that, “having consumers ask about it puts pressure on insurers to cover it”. Only time will tell if specialist drug ads will be successful in the direct-to-consumer market.
To read more from Wall Street Journal, click here.