Treato Finds DTC Pharma TV Advertisements Have Little Influence

The Healthcare Insights Company Finds Vast Majority of Consumers Have Never Asked A Doctor About a Drug They Saw Advertised on TV

Monday, April 18, 2016 — Timed to the DTC Perspectives conference kicking off this week, Treato, the single largest source of online consumer insights on healthcare, released their annual survey on consumer’s opinions of DTC advertisements.  The survey of more than 500 users found that consumers are rarely motivated to take action after seeing an advertisement for a drug on TV.  Only seven percent of respondents said they have asked a doctor about a drug after seeing an advertisement about it on TV.  This is significantly down from last year’s survey in which 21 percent of respondent said that they had asked a doctor about a drug they saw on TV.

According to Medical Marketing & Media (MM&M) money spent on DTC advertising this past year totaled more than $5.2 billion.  This is significantly up from the $4.3 billion spent in the previous year.  While consumers aren’t motivated by these advertisements, they are highly aware that pharma is investing more in DTC advertisements as 64 percent said they felt like they were seeing more drug advertisements on TV over the past year.   In this past year DTC advertising on TV has increased by 26 percent when compared to the previous year. 

The survey also revealed that consumers aren’t easily influenced by celebrities in DTC advertisements as 76 percent of respondents said they are no more inclined to pay attention to a drug advertisement even if it features a celebrity.  In addition, animated characters seem to have little influence on consumers as 80 percent of respondents said they are no more inclined to pay attention to a drug advertisement if it features an animated character.

Consumers did have strong opinions about what time of day and type of TV events during which drug ads should be allowed to be shown.  Seventy-five percent of respondents said advertisements for erectile dysfunction and low libido should be shown after 9pm or not at all.  Consumers also didn’t want drug advertisements to be played during family-friendly sporting events, as 46 percent of respondents thought drug advertisements should be banned from the Super Bowl.

“Pharma marketers need to think of more innovative ways to engage directly with health consumers,” says Ido Hadari, CEO of Treato.  “It’s clear that consumers are rarely responsive to the one way communication of TV advertisements.”

To read more on Treato’s DTC Advertising survey.


For this data analysis Treato surveyed 529 of its users from April 12th- 15th

Allyson Noonan Media Relations Manager at Treato