While R&D probably remains the most important part of any drug company's processes, after months of clinical trials and waiting for regulatory approval for a new drug, pharmaceutical companies then face the mammoth task of having to create advertising for that drug - a process that could see the drug become either a blockbuster or become lost in the drugstore black-hole.
Because of this, Big Pharma - knowing how important advertising has become - has developed a plethora of ways to let the public know about their latest and greatest drugs: from TV and radio spots to newspaper and internet ads.
Of course, just like any other adverting campaign, when it comes to the marketing of a new drug, the key to success lies - mainly - in spending the appropriate amount of money that will get results required.
Last year, 13 pharmaceutical companies made it onto Advertising Age's 2008 list of 100 National Advertisers, ranked by their 2007 advertising budgets.
According to the rankings, while several companies actually cut their ad budgets in 2007, others boosted their ad budgets significantly. Boehringer Ingelheim, for instance, saw its advertising budget sky-rocketing, by increasing by an unfathomable 163 percent.
And take GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), who ranks first out of all the featured pharmaceutical companies. In 2007, GSK's biggest advertising price tag was attached to Advair, the firm's blockbuster asthma medication, which rung up US$127 million in advertising spending.
Meanwhile, on the GSK's consumer products side, the company ramped up advertising for the OTC diet drug Alli to US$90 million, despite the fact the drug had only been approved for OTC use in 2006. Spending on the Aquafresh brand, meanwhile, soared by 213 percent from US$19.4 million to US$61 million.
And now, as drugmakers ride out the economic storm, and new trends in the industry - M&A and "pharmemerging" markets, to name just two - begin to take shape, the importance of new drug marketing continues to build momentum.
Not to mention the amount of funds pharmaceutical companies are willing to spend on marketing as the industry generates more and more revenue.
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