For Devices, an Elusive Consumer Appeal
While pharmaceutical companies have begun to explore the blow-out potential of a direct to consumer appeal in quality of life issues, medical device firms have sat on the sidelines. They've targeted seriously ill patients on the outer fringes of conditions like obesity and erectile dysfunction, but as of yet, haven't really gone after the huge central market.
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Drug company spending on direct-to-consumer advertising is soaring and could reach $10 billion, or as much as 30% of all promotional spending, by 2005, if current trends continue. But some powerful groups, most notably, doctors, pharmacists and managed care organizations, have begun to express their concern, worried that such advertising inappropriately influences patient prescribing.
DTC advertising of prescription drugs is becoming more accepted by physicians, patients, and manufacturers but still represents only a small proportion of the money pharmaceutical companies spend on promotion. Some argue that DTC could be a natural fit with disease management programs but neither advertisers nor managed care have figured out a way to make it work for both because of naturally conflicting goals.
Business development leaders and venture capital investors spoke at Biocom’s annual partnering conference about what they are seeking in relationships with entrepreneurs and start-ups.