Pharmaceutical companies spend twice as much on marketing as they do on R & D

We’ve all heard the oft-repeated standard line from drug companies with regards to the high cost of their products: The customer has to pay the prices they do because research and development is so, so, so expensive.

This line is even defended in onlines forums and other public venues by some customers who appear to be perfectly happy to pay the skyrocketing rates of prescriptions drugs.


They’re convinced that the high cost they pay goes into research and development, which enables the drug companies to provide newer, even better prescription medications.

But not everyone buys this line.

Even if we choose to ignore for the moment that the pharmaceutical companies are able to sell the same products in other countries for a fraction of the cost and still turn a profit, one big glaring inconsistency still stand out: Drug companies spend TWICE as much on marketing as they do on research and development.

According to Alliance For Natural Health, the pharmaceutical industry spends $60 billion yearly on marketing, while research and development spending is roughly $30 billion.

(In our post two days ago, we covered what some of this “marketing” includes. You can jump to that post here… but here’s a hint into the post’s subject matter: The prescription your doctor just gave you may have been prescribed not because it’s in your best interest, but because he was paid a bribe from the drug company.)

In a free market spending a fortune on marketing would be fine. Plenty of companies do. There’s nothing wrong with promoting a product. But the problem in the pharmaceutical industry—besides the claim that drug costs are driven by R & D being a lie—is that it is not a free market.

The pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated while alternatives to drugs are limited. And much of this is done at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry.

Pharmacuetical companies work very hard to keep newly created drugs off the market. They work hard to keep beneficial drugs from earning generic status quickly. They work hard at preventing doctors and natural-care practitioners from distributing nature-provided alternatives.

And, perhaps most egregiously of all, pharmaceutical companies frequently push for increased regulation and testing protocols which actually lengthen the time it takes to get certain drugs on the market.

Why do they do this? They do it because it keeps smaller competitors out of the playing field. A delay in getting sales can be well worth it if the pieces of the drug sales pie are split between fewer sellers.

This is all done with expensive lobbying of members of congress and bureacrats at the FDA and USDA. As we’ve reported before, there’s a virtual revolving door between employment at the FDA and drug companies. One hand washes the other.

If you don’t believe this has a dramatic effect in the health industry, then you should take a two-week vacation to China and see what is possible in a healthcare market that is considerably more free. Walk the streets and take a look at the flourishing alternative health practioner industry, then ask yourself why, in the supposedly free U.S. market, such options do not exist here.

The final word…

Pharmaceutical drugs are not inherently evil. Many are lifesavers and millions of people live better lives because of them.

But that doesn’t mean you should believe everything you are told.

Remember pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing the product to you than they do on anything else…  so, what you are told has a high liklihood of being misrepresented.

Source for stats: Alliance For Natural Health (

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