Pharma Industry Group Favors Obama as Next PresidentÂ
FLORHAM PARK, N.J., April 24 -- Showing solid, and surprising, support among pharmaceutical industry marketers, Democratic candidate for president Sen. Barack Obama emerged as the candidate-to-beat following a mock election held during last week's annual DTC National Conference in Washington, D.C. The annual gathering discusses issue of direct-to-consumer drug advertising, now one of the largest advertising categories.
Senator Obama "defeated" both his leading rivals in the mock elections held during the conference's opening session. The victory marked a surprising outcome for Obama, who came out on top in an industry known for backing Republican candidates in recent elections.
Obama won a "primary" vote against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) by a wide margin (59% to 40%) among the marketers, agency executives and service suppliers in the direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising sector. In a second voting round against presumed Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, Obama also won convincingly, taking a 53% to 46% victory over the Arizona senator.
"Given the Republican leanings of the drug industry, it is somewhat surprising to see Barack Obama so handily defeat John McCain," said Bob Ehrlich, chief executive of DTC Perspectives. "Of course, that could be an indication that McCain's frequent anti-industry comments have made him unpopular with drug company marketers. Or, it could reflect that drug industry marketers do not vote with their employer interests as their primary concern."
In a separate vote by conference delegates, 61% of the marketers said they expected additional regulations on DTC to be approved by year's end or by early 2009. The group also was pessimistic about the direction of ad spending, with 35% expecting a reduction in advertising budgets and 36% saying that budgets would not change in the current year. Fewer than one in three (28%) said they expected DTC budgets to increase in 2008.
With concern about regulatory issues and a tense political climate for DTC in Washington, this year's DTC National attracted record attendance. The event, held April 16-18, drew almost 700 attendees this year, and it is the largest annual gathering of marketers, agency executives and media leaders involved with DTC advertising. The annual event attracts a who's who of influential company representatives each year in what has become an "annual meeting" of the leaders of the DTC sector.