DTC in Perspective: Predictions for 2018


Time to have a little fun with the unknown. Predictions are nice for stimulating discussion so here goes.

  1. The DTC spending will increase modestly in 2018 by around 5%. Some of that increase is media cost inflation. So, I am expecting a strong year but not a boom in spending.
  2. FDA will not take any action in 2018 to make DTC harder or easier to execute. It is possible we could see a guidance on reducing risk presentation, but I doubt it.
  3. The media mix will change slightly to include more digital and point of care, but television and print will still be dominant. FDA will do nothing to make social media easier to execute and will not change word search requirements on indication and needed fair balance.
  4. Drug company reputation will still be an issue due to pricing concerns. DTC will be attacked regularly for causing demand for high price drugs and for creating higher prices. I am not predicting any Congressional action on price controls or reimportation but the mid-term elections in 2018 might alter the balance of control to Democrats and then something could happen in 2019.
  5. Virtual medicine is going to become the next big thing. That means cheaper opportunities to interact with a doctor online for lower cost and get drugs prescribed. Married with online tools to track vitals and other useful diagnostic tools will accelerate the shift.
  6. Genomics companies will continue to grow in offering tests to determine our likelihood of getting diseases. Consumers will be more informed and be more active partners in deciding with doctors what tests are needed and what treatments are best.
  7. Consumer cost burden will continue to rise as insurers and employers continue to expect higher deductibles and co-pays. That means more of us are really self-insured in a normal year and we pay the full bill. That means consumers will be questioning any service, test, or drug where they are paying most of the bill.
  8. Media targeting will be a higher priority as technology improves to micro target potential users. As DTC for higher cost drugs targeting smaller segments in cancer and other targeted diseases increases, the need to better target potential customers increases.
Bob Ehrlich
“2018 will be a relatively quiet year.”
-Bob Ehrlich

There you have it. 2018 will be a relatively quiet year as nothing should happen to dramatically alter how we use DTC. Just my opinion and many of you will have a different take on these and others not mentioned. Have a great holiday as this is my last column in 2017.


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