Pharmaceutical promotion, an essential expense

MONTREAL, Sept. 28, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The large sums invested in the promotion and advertising of pharmaceutical drugs do not come at the expense of R&D and patients' health. The Viewpoint published today by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) highlights the positive correlation that exists between the pharmaceutical industry's promotional activities and its spending on R&D.

It takes over 10 years of research and 1.2 billion dollars on average to develop a new drug. Of all the drugs put on the market, only 20% of them are usually profitable. Consequently, it is important to promote the most promising drugs, those backed by the most persuasive scientific evidence and most likely to provide a return on R&D investments.

Moreover, the information spread through the advertising of pharmaceutical products can also benefit patients themselves. Indeed, such advertising tends to increase the number of people diagnosed with certain health problems (like depression, high cholesterol and arthrosis) who take medication.

"We have to stop thinking about the money invested by pharmaceutical companies in the promotion of their products as an extravagant expense. The promotion of drugs is one source of information among others available to doctors, who use their good judgment to determine the most appropriate treatment for their patients," says Yanick Labrie, the publication's author.

The Viewpoint on the pharmaceutical industry's promotional spending, prepared by Yanick Labrie, economist at the MEI, can be consulted free of charge at

The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its publications, media appearances and conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms. It does not accept any government funding.


For further information:

Ariane Gauthier, communications coordinator, Montreal Economic Institute
Tel.: 514 273-0969 ext. 2231 / Cell: 514 603-8746 / Email:

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