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ACNielsen Finds Effectiveness of Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising Goes Beyond Initial Sale.

Business Editors

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 25, 2003

New Research Shows Patient Involvement Also Boosts Compliance

ACNielsen U.S., an operating unit of ACNielsen, a VNU company, released new research findings today showing that direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising is effective not only in generating initial sales of advertised prescription (Rx) medicine brands, but also in boosting patient "compliance" - that is, the degree to which chronic-condition sufferers refill their prescriptions in a timely manner. The findings were released here at the DTC National Conference & Exposition.

Since 1997, when the Food & Drug Administration relaxed advertising guidelines, pharmaceutical manufacturers have spent billions of dollars encouraging people to ask their doctors about specific Rx brands. According to an ACNielsen Homescan(R) Rx/OTC Consumer Panel sales analysis of 12 major DTC-advertised Rx brands from July through December 2002, more than 17% of new prescriptions filled came as a direct result of patients requesting the brand.

 Total New
How Brand Was Selected Prescriptions Prescriptions
---------------------------------------- -------------- --------------
Doctor Prescribed 89.3% 82.7%
---------------------------------------- -------------- --------------
Requested by Patient 10.7% 17.3%
---------------------------------------- -------------- --------------
Source: ACNielsen Homescan Rx/OTC Panel

According to David Hoo, director of marketing, ACNielsen Homescan Consumer Panel Services, "Direct-to-consumer advertising is making prescription drug users more proactive in managing their health. The advertising is raising awareness of specific brands and encouraging people to ask family members, friends, pharmacists, and, ultimately, their physician about them."

One of the most significant issues facing the pharmaceutical industry is low patient compliance. The latest ACNielsen research shows that, of the 12 brands studied, prescriptions were refilled in compliance with the prescribed usage guidelines (in a time frame less than or equal to the time it should take a patient to run out of medicine) in just 30% of the cases. However, as the chart below indicates, the compliance rate for pharmaceutical brands requested by patients was higher than the rate for doctor-prescribed brands.

How Brand Was Selected Compliance Rate
----------------------------------- -------------------------
All 30.1%
----------------------------------- -------------------------
Doctor Prescribed 29.8%
----------------------------------- -------------------------
Requested by Patient 34.6%
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Source: ACNielsen Homescan Rx/OTC Panel July-December 2002

According to David Hoo, "It's noteworthy that when patients are actively involved in requesting specific medication brands from their physicians they are more diligent about following usage guidelines. This finding is a powerful added incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to continue with direct-to-consumer advertising."

The ACNielsen's Homescan Rx/OTC Panel tracks Rx and over-the-counter (OTC) medication purchases, usage, and attitudes among 36,000 individuals. It provides the pharmaceutical industry with insights into issues such as the effectiveness of DTC advertising and product sampling, prescribed usage compliance, brand loyalty/switching, targeting illness sufferers and remedy users, and understanding related Rx/OTC usage.

ACNielsen, a VNU company, is the world's leading marketing information company. Offering services in more than 100 countries, the company provides measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics and consumer attitudes and behavior. Clients rely on ACNielsen's market research, proprietary products, analytical tools and professional service to understand competitive performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of their marketing and sales campaigns.

Note to Editors: Look for this press release and other ACNielsen news on the Internet at
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 25, 2003
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