Pharmaceutical meetings and events continue to grow as integral elements in overall promotion of prescription drugs.

According to Scott-Levin's Physician Meeting & Event Audit, a survey of more than 3,400 doctors, pharmaceutical companies spent $1.9 billion on events for physicians in 2000, 14 percent more than in 1999.

By comparison, the industry spent the same amount on direct-to-consumer ads for prescription products between January and September 2000, reports Scott-Levin's Direct-to-Consumer Advertising Audit and Competitive Media Reporting.

Pharmaceutical companies devoted an average of 17 percent of their promotional budgets to meetings and events, about the same proportion as in 1999. Total promotional spending for prescription drugs rose from $9 billion to $10.4 billion in 2000.

Scott-Levin projects that 314,022 physician events were held in 2000, an increase of about 11 percent. Event activity almost doubled between 1996 and 2000.

Top 10 Companies in 2000 Event Spending ($/millions)

Pfizer $211.0, down 12% from 1999
GlaxoSmithKline, $195.0, up 45%
Merck, $179.2, up 20%
Bristol-Myers Squibb, $106.3, up 9%
Eli Lilly, $99.9, up 45%
AstraZeneca, $84.0, up 9%
Pharmacia, $81.0, up 10%
Johnson & Johnson, $74.8, down 2%
Aventis, $69.5, down 6%
American Home Products, $62.0, up 25%

Total Industry, $1,887.7, up 14%

The leading class of drug for which events were held was SSRI/SNRI antidepressants, with 22,838 meetings, up 31 percent over the previous year. The fastest growing class of drug was proton pump inhibitors, with 9,624 meetings, up 71 percent over 1999.

In total, the pharmaceutical industry held 314,022 events, an 11% increase over the previous year.

Source: Scott-Levin's Physician Meeting & Event Audit

For more information, please contact Jim Dietz, jim.dietz@scottlevin.com; Debbie Alcott, debbie.alcott@scottlevin.com; Nancy Robertone, nancy.robertone@scottlevin.com; or Dave Johnson, dave.johnson@scottlevin.com. All can be reached at 215/860-0440; fax: 215/860-5477.