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The Great DTC Debate
Round 1: Are Drug Marketers an Endangered Species?

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The First in a Series of Debates Between Bob the "Chairman" Ehrlich and John the "Pharmaguy" Mack!

Robert Ehrlich (see bio), CEO and Chairman, DTC Perspectives, Inc., joins John Mack (@pharmaguy; see bio), Editor of Pharma Marketing News and creator of Pharma Marketing Blog, to debate whether or not DTC marketers are being pushed to extinction by government regulations and other forces.

Aired LIVE on: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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Background

knock em sock em"The assault on drug marketing is coming from many fronts," says Ehrlich. "Federal and State legislators have tried to make it harder for drug companies to market their products to both professionals and consumers. Some states have enacted laws to restrict information on physician prescribing habits that can be made available to drug companies. Others have mandated that drug marketing expenditures be made public in an effort to embarrass the companies."

"Nonsense!," says Mack. "You only have to watch the nightly news to see that DTC marketers need no help from BIG government to be embarrassing to John Q. Public. Besides, it seems to me that drug marketers are far from being extinct in other countries where DTC is completely banned. Ergo, the laws you talk of may make some marketers jobs more difficult, but other, more innovative marketers will take their places."

That's about how this match will play out folks... point and counterpoint! We hope to have a lively, yet somewhat civilized, discussion as the staunch Republican libertarian "Chairman" takes on the Uber-liberal critical "Pharmaguy" in a no-holds-barred head-to-head matchup!

Questions/Topics Discussed

  • Is this all about the argument that DTC and other other types of pharma marketing are the main causes of high drug prices in the US or has the industry brought this on itself by indulging in marketing excesses that physicians and patients -- not to mention government regulators -- are getting weary of?
  • Should we fight these restrictions on drug marketing because they are counter to our free market (for ideas) heritage or is pharma so powerful in terms of money that "free" can not desccribe the market of ideas that consumers and physicians are subject to?
  • Are some state laws, such as a Maine law that allows doctors to not allow their prescribing information to be used by drug companies for detailing targeting, really that limiting or is it easy for pharma marketers to get around these laws?
  • And much more...


Guest Bio

Bob Ehrlich is the CEO of DTC Perspectives Inc., the only company dedicated to studying direct-to-consumer marketing and advertising for the health care industry. Bob started DTC Perspectives in 2000, after a long career in consumer and pharmaceutical marketing at Warner Lambert.

In 1997 Bob was on the launch team for Lipitor, now the most prescribed drug in the world. He was voted one of the 50 top marketers in the United States by Advertising Age for that work.

Bob has consulted with many of the top pharmaceutical companies since he started DTC Perspectives. Clients have included AstraZeneca, Sanofi-Aventis, Lilly, Organon, and Allergan. Bob is well-known in the DTC industry for his frequent talks and his weekly email column is read by over 3000 industry professionals.

John MackJohn Mack is the publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Pharma Marketing News, an independent monthly electronic newsletter focused on issues of importance to pharmaceutical marketing executives.

Mr. Mack is an accomplished blogger. In January 2005, he created Pharma Marketing Blog, which focuses on commentary about topical pharmaceutical marketing issues. Pharma Marketing Blog was cited by the Wall Street Journal as a blog “insiders read to stay current” and by MedAdNews as "...often-entertaining, always informative..."

Mr. Mack often speaks at pharmaceutical industry conferences on the subject of Internet marketing best practices, privacy, and social networking. Mr. Mack has provided expert testimony before the FDA and congressional committees on these subjects and is quoted often in the media (including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, etc.).


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