$1.8 Billion Spent on Consumer Drug Ads in 1999
According to the Westport, Conn.-based health care information company, Schering-Plough Corporation led the spending with $137 million devoted to the Claritin line of antihistamine products. Pfizer spent less than half that amount on its competing antihistamine, Zyrtec.
Merck and Pfizer spent more than $90 million each to promote Propecia and Viagra, products widely reported to have uneven coverage by health plans.
Despite this large investment in direct-to-consumer advertising, mostly for television ads, pharmaceutical companies spent 87 percent of their promotional money on reaching health care professionals, IMS reported.