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Research Reveals Big Pharmaceutical Companies Spending More on Sales and Marketing than Research and Development

According to the Washington Post, a study conducted by the healthcare research firm GlobalData revealed that nine out of ten big pharmaceutical companies are spending more on sales and marketing than research and development (R&D).

Johnson & Johnson, the biggest spender, expended roughly $17.5 billion dollars on sales and marketing in 2013, compared with $8.2 billion for R&D. GlaxoSmithKline, who is currently facing lawsuits alleging that its Zofran® anti-nausea medication is linked to birth defects, also shows a gaping disparity in spending with $9.9 billion spent on sales and marketing, compared with $5.3 billion spent on R&D. Hoffmann-La Roche is the only pharmaceutical company that allocated more to its R&D ($9.3 billion) than its sales and marketing ($9 billion), but not by much.

The article points out that most of the pharmaceutical company’s marketing efforts are directed at the physicians who do the prescribing, as opposed to targeting consumers directly. According to the article, drug companies spent an estimated $24 billion on marketing to heath care professionals in 2012 while only around $3 billion was spent on marketing to consumers in the United States.

The world’s largest pharmaceutical firms that were involved in the research include: Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Pfizer, Hoffmann-La Roche, Sanofi, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, and AbbVie.

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