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Prescription Drugs


... advertisement was taken from the magazine Psychology Today, it likely also ... Marketing is geared to allure consumers by playing with their fears, emotions, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs
  • The Effects of the Advertising Industry on the
    Awareness Use of Anti-Depressant Drugs

  • Introduction
  • History of Anti-Depressants
  • Trends
  • Consumers vs. Doctors
  • Marketing Trends
  • Statistics
  • Marketing Deconstruction
  • Example 1 - Lexapro
  • Example 2 - Zoloft
  • Example 3 - Effexor XR
  • Forecasts
  • Conclusion

  • With annual U.S. revenues of about 100 billion
    and worldwide revenues of 300 billion, the
    pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest,
    most powerful, and most profitable businesses in
    the world, producing some of the most
    sophisticated marketing and advertising anywhere
  • Rules Change
  • For years the pharmaceutical industry was allowed
    to market its drugs only to doctors.
  • In 1981, the drug industry proposed that the FDA
    allow advertising directly to consumers, arguing
    the public shouldnt be denied access to the
    "knowledge" provided by such marketing. Four
    years later, the FDA agreed to allow
    "direct-to-consumer" (DTC) advertising.
  • Drug Marketing Reborn
  • Pharmaceutical advertising has grown to a new,
    pop culture-savvy level
  • Car and pharmaceutical commercials use the same
    hooks -- popular music, good acting and lofty
    promises -- to hook consumers and reel them in.
    Both are almost always intended to look "cool
    and feel good
  • Pharmaceutical advertisements are becoming
    increasingly common and increasingly effective
  • In this presentation, we will review the
    marketing tactics of the pharmaceutical industry,
    and the length they will go to seduce drug
    consumers, and rake staggering profits every year

History of Anti-Depressants
  • Before the discovery of antidepressant drugs,
    depression was commonly treated with barbiturates
    or shock treatment
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and
    Tricyclic antidepressants were the first two
    classes of drugs used to treat major depression
  • Iproniazid, the first modern anti-depressant, was
    originally developed as an anti-tubercular drug
    in the early 1950's
  • Imipramine, the first among the tricyclic
    antidepressant, was originally developed in a
    search for drugs useful in the treatrement of
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
    were developed to effectively work on the
    symptoms of depression without the side effects
    of the MAOIs or the tricyclics, such as
    constipation and blurred vision.
  • The first SSRI, fluoxetine (Prozac) was released
    in 1987

Targeting consumers vs. doctors
  • Why do pharmaceutical companies spend billions of
    dollars on direct-to-consumer advertising when
    consumers can only obtain prescriptions for these
    drugs through a doctor?
  • Doctors prescribe whatever the patient names
  • "Surveys reveal that when a patient comes into a
    doctor's office and requests a specific drug that
    he has seen advertised in the media, the doctor
    writes the exact prescription the patient
    requested more than 70 percent of the time!"
  • Pharmaceutical companies are in business to make
  • Their goal The pursuit for maximum profit

Marketing trends
  • In the 1990s, direct-to-consumer advertising
    increased at a compounded-annually rate of 30
  • From 1996 to 2000, totals rose from 791 million
    to nearly 2.5 billion  
  • Between 1999 and 2000, prescriptions for the 50
    most heavily advertised drugs rose six times
    faster than prescriptions for all other drugs
  • In 2000, 2.5 billion was spent on
    direct-to-consumer advertising. This number
    increased to over 3 billion in 2003
  • Pharmaceutical companies spend more on
    advertising than they spend in research and
    development of products

  • Expenditures for prescription drugs is growing
    faster than any other major healthcare sector.
    Americans are expected to spend over 500 billion
    on drugs this year
  • Prescription drugs account for 11 of total U.S.
    health care spending in 2002 and was a whopping
    200.7 billion in 2005, almost 5 times more than
    the 40.3 billion spent in 1990
  • Antidepressant use has risen rapidly in most
    developed countries, driven by increased
    awareness of depression, and the availability and
    promotion of new antidepressant drugs
  • The average number of prescriptions per person in
    the United States increased from 7.3 in 1992 to
    10.4 in 2000
  • In 2006, nearly 25 million American adults were
    estimated to have experienced severe
    psychological distress
  • 16 million American adults, or 7.2 percent of the
    population, reported experiencing a major
    depressive episode during the year prior
  • According to Wikipedia, a 2007 study purports
    that 25 of Americans were over-diagnosed with

Marketing Deconstruction
  • Example 1 - Lexapro


From Forest Laboratoriesthe manufacturers of
Lexapro and Celexa
  • Target Audience
  • Individuals, especially women, and doctors who
    may be prescribing antidepressant medications
  • Ads purpose
  • To educate current individuals currently taking
    Celexa about a more effective and popular choice
    for a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
    (SSRI) antidepressant called Lexapro
  • What is implied
  • The reference and comparisons to Celexa
    (Lexapros predecessor), implies that audience is
    educated and informed about the drugs
  • Claims
  • The ad claims that Lexapro is the fastest
    growing SSRI in the US and is prescribed to over
    13 million patients in the US. 
  • Subtext or hidden story
  • -No mention of side effects
  • -No mention that it could take up to 6 to 8
    weeks of treatment before seeing results.
  • -No mention that this medication may not work
    for everyone

Fowles Basic Appeals
  • Need for affiliation Illustrates two women
    confiding in each other.   This especially plays
    on an individuals fear of loneliness which is
    likely a more susceptible fear in people
    diagnosed with depression.
  • Need for aesthetic sensations Displays women
    dressed in bright pastel colors.  They are the
    focus of the advertisement with the background in
    less focus.  The water that one woman is drinking
    and the salads on the table both look refreshing.
  • Need to satisfy curiosity Exhibits a variety of
    information including statistics, comparisons to
    other antidepressants, and safety information.

Use of Color
  • Yellow (worn by woman) is associated with
    happiness, cheerful feelings, joy, intellect, and
  • Light Blue (worn by woman) is associated with
    healing, health, tranquility and softness.  Blue
    is considered beneficial to the mind and body. 
  • Dark Red logo brings text and images to the
    foreground.  It simulates people to want to make
    quick decisions.
  • In addition, the logo makes use of similar shades
    of yellow and light blue as worn by the women.

Marketing Deconstruction
  • Example 2- Zoloft

  • Target Audience
  • Any person who is experiencing symptoms of
    depression. This ad may appeal to a broad range
    of ages, from teens to older adults
  • Ads purpose 
  • To bring awareness about Zoloft in a
    simplified way by making use of animation. Also,
    to reinforce brand recognition
  • What is implied
  • Indirectly, the maker of this ad wants to
    communicate to its audience that more information
    on Zoloft is available on the internet
  • Claims
  • This ad claims that Zoloft is the 1 prescribed
    medication for depression and anxiety
  • Subtext or hidden story
  • -No mention of side effects or any implication
    that may come about by using this medication
  • -No mention that it could take several weeks of
    treatment before seeing results
  • -No mention that this medication may not work
    for everyone

Fowles basic appeals
  • Need to nurture- By showing a cute,
    fragile-looking character, the reader is touched
    by a need to nurture, to care
  • Need for reassurance-By showing a doctor in this
    ad attesting that Zoloft has helped millions
    with depression one can feel very positive of
    the medications effectiveness
  • Need to satisfy curiosity-It is implied by this
    ad that more information about Zoloft is
    available online. Thus, this ad drives its
    audience to the products website

Use of color
  • The colors used in this ad are
  • White- In advertising, white is associated with
    coolness and cleanliness. It is used to suggest
    simplicity in high-tech products, and safety when
    promoting medical products
  • Yellow (background) is associated with
    happiness, cheerful feelings, joy, intellect, and
  • Light Blue (background at the doctors office)-
    is associated with healing, health, tranquility
    and softness.  Blue is considered beneficial to
    the mind and body. Light blue symbolizes that
    Zoloft is a healing medicine

Marketing Deconstruction
  • Example 3- Effexor XR

(No Transcript)
  • Ad description This advertisement features a
    smiling woman looking directly at the reader. 
    The ad also displays text highlighting a myth,
    reality, and general health information regarding
    the antidepressant Effexor XR
  • Target Audience  Adult individuals, especially
    women.  Given that this advertisement was taken
    from the magazine Psychology Today, it likely
    also targets psychology students, psychiatrists,
    and doctors
  • Ad's purpose To inform readers who feel they may
    be suffering from depression that they have
    options about their treatment most notably the
    prescription, Effexor XR
  • What is implied The reader deserves a change
    (text "the change you deserve") notably to be
    happy like the woman portrayed and not depressed
  • Subtext or hidden story The advertisement lists
    that its readers have options, yet it only
    mentions one Effexor XR prescription
    medication.  It fails to mention that Effexor XR
    might not work for everyone

Fowles Basic Appeals
  • Need for aesthetic sensations By displaying a
    woman with perfect facial features her hair is
    beautifully done, her smile is symmetrical, and
    her skin is flawless this advertisement appeals
    to the audiences aesthetic sensations
  • Need to satisfy curiosity This advertisement
    features text displaying a myth and a reality, in
    large bold letters at the top of the page.  This
    appeals to people's desire for tidbits of trivial

Use of color
  • Dark Red (text) Red is a very emotionally
    intense color often used to stimulate people to
    make quick decisions.   The word "myth" is
    written in red to represent danger
  • Yellow (text) Yellow is often used to convey
    feelings of joy and happiness.  In this
    advertisement, the word "reality" is written in
    this color to represent hope and optimism
  • Green (background) The background of this
    advertisement is green.  This color is often
    associated with safety, stability, and endurance.
    It reassures the audience that the product is

  • Globally, the antidepressant market has seen
    extraordinary growth over the last decade. But,
    with few entrants, and a flood of patent expiries
    by 2009, the dynamics of this 16.9 billion
    market are set to undergo a major change
  • Brand name antidepressant drugs are being
    challenged by their generic counterparts who are
    about 50-60 cheaper
  • Fluoxetine, the generic version of Prozac, became
    available in 2001 and cost about 14 cents a pill
    as oppose to 2.22 for Prozac
  • Since FDA warnings were issued, antidepressant
    prescription for children and teens has dropped
    dramatically making this drug market more
  • For these reasons, antidepressant sales are
    expected to decrease by 21.5 to 13.5 billion by

  • The pharmaceutical industry has become one of the
    most profitable businesses in the world
  • Direct to consumer marketing has enabled an
    explosion in pharmaceutical revenue
  • 300 billion world wide revenues
  • Savvy marketing tactics are a pillar to the
    industries success, equal in scale to RD
  • Marketing is geared to allure consumers by
    playing with their fears, emotions, and
  • Consumers beware
  • Direct-to-consumer advertising is largely
    responsible for over-medication of prescription
  • Pharmaceuticals are responsible for 100,000
    deaths/year 750,000/ year if you include
  • Deep pockets of the pharmaceutical industry
    influence scientists and academics through
    support of medical research, medical schools, and
    hospitals creating interlocking interests
  • What to do
  • Become more informed about pharmaceutical
    companies marketing tactics
  • Be cautious of where we seek our information.
    Many informational websites are funded by these
    big giant companies.
  • Advice Its always good to get a second opinion
    . and always, listen to your mom!

  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • 1 Prescription Drug Trends Fact Sheet - May
    2007 Update http//
  • 1 Prescription News http//pn.psychiatryonline.o
  • 1 The Daily Texan Online http//media.www.dailyt
  • 1 Katharine Greider's book, The Big Fix
  • 1 Commercial Insight Antidepressants - Sliding
    SSRI Revenues Inevitable, Published February 2004
  • http//
  • 1 Wellmark, BlueCross BlueSheild Generic
    Findings Report http//
  • http//