Atlanta, GA — The value debate that’s been raging in headlines and exam rooms around the country found center stage at the Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association this week. Doctors there discussed policies aimed at making prescription drugs more affordable. They ultimately created a resolution to ban DTC advertising.

AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A., explained, “Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices. Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”

Ultimately, only the Food and Drug Administration or Congress could mandate a ban, but the AMA did commit significant resources to actively advocating for the issue.

A recent Kaiser tracking poll found many Americans (6:10) are also concerned about the amount of money that pharmaceutical companies invest in advertising their drugs. But, most (51%) agreed that drug advertising is mostly a good thing. In fact, 3:10 have talked to their doctors about a product they saw advertised.

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The poll also points out some areas where pharmaceutical advertisers could go farther to make their advertising dollars more valuable as well as dispel some key myths that may be contributing negatively to their image. For example, consumers clearly believe that ads could be more informative on what side effects to really expect, how effective the treatment is, and the cost of the drug:

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And, they mistakenly believe that pharmaceutical companies have significant influence over the drugs doctors prescribe:

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Look for more debate – in living rooms, on the presidential trial, and at the FDA – on advertising dollars and their specific value to busy doctors and consumers alike in the year ahead.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.