Last updated on: 3/18/2014 | Author:

Eli Lilly Biography

to the question "Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?"

“As to direct-to-to-consumer advertising, first of all, I’d like to put things in perspective. I think there has been a criticism of the industry that we are spending more on DTC than we do on the rest of marketing, or more importantly, on R&D. In fact, in 2001, the total expenses for direct-to-consumer advertising was $2.4 billion for the whole industry, versus $30 billion on R&D.

I think direct-to-consumer advertising has some very important public health benefits. One is, you can see for the majority of the products which are advertised, that they deal with conditions which, according to medical experts and the data available, are under-treated — diseases such as depression, such as diabetes, such as hypertension, such as high cholesterol. All of these areas are today under-treated, and direct-to-consumer advertising helps educate patients and bring them to the doctor’s office. The most expensive disease is the one which is not diagnosed or treated.

The other benefit of direct-to-consumer advertising, from a public health standpoint, is that, according to surveys of both physicians and patients, one out of five, approximately, says that to see the advertisement helps that patient remember to take his or her medication. Non-compliance is a very, very serious issue.”

Sidney Taurel, interview with Frontline,, Nov. 20, 2002

[Editor’s Note: Prior to the Nov. 20, 2002 statement above, Eli Lilly was classified as Con based on the 1984 letter quoted below.]

“We do not believe that commercial product advertising of prescription drugs is appropriate… prescription drugs embody a complex set of factors with potential human effects that can best be evaluated by the physician… Therefore, we believe that the need for the physician’s supervision of any prescription drug taken by the patient is paramount and that the potential pressures of public advertising of prescription drugs on the scientific decisions of the physician are both unwise and inappropriate.”

Julie Donohue, “A History of Drug Advertising: The Evolving Roles of Consumers and Consumer Protection,”


“For more than 135 years, Eli Lilly and Company has shown its commitment to be a responsible global citizen — in large part, through a long history of philanthropic contributions. Today, however, our understanding of corporate responsibility is evolving beyond charity and reaching into the core of our business operations. We’re drawing on our scientific, technical and business expertise to serve patients, meet the community’s needs and reduce our environmental footprint.”

“Our Approach,” (accessed Mar. 18, 2014)


“We make medicines that help people live longer, healthier, more active lives.”

“Our Mission,” (accessed Mar. 18, 2014)

Pharmaceutical company
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Pro & Con Quotes: Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?