Evolution of Pharma Marketing Part 2: The Rise of Drug Commercials

Published August 31, 2022

Evolution of Pharma Marketing: The Rise of Drug Commercials

Out of the 195 countries in the world, only two allow for direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical ads: New Zealand and the United States. Considering that you’re guaranteed to see multiple prescription drug ads when watching most cable channels, it’s hard to imagine the world without them. But the question is, how did we get here? A brief look at the history shows how pharmaceutical commercials have changed and developed over the past 37 years.

Pharma ads have come a long way since that first Boots commercial. While the FDA no longer remains a looming threat to the future of prescription drug ads, at least on television, there is still opposition on the horizon: the American Medical Association. Will the AMA’s wish to ban these ads be granted, or will pharmaceutical commercials continue to dominate our screens? Only time will tell. But one thing is for certain: the time for digital advertising is now.


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Mittler-Lee Jennifer. (2020, August 12). The Five Best Pharmaceutical Ads in History. Better Marketing. https://bettermarketing.pub/the-5-best-pharmaceutical-ads-in-history-1c0c4c023c0e

Scott, Dylan. (2015, December 11). The untold story of TV’s first prescription drug ad. Stat News. https://www.statnews.com/2015/12/11/untold-story-tvs-first-prescription-drug-ad/

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