Listening to diabetics talk about DTC TV Ads

I forgot how much I hate airline travel. Over the past week, I had to jet around the country to take the lead on qualitative research on TV ads for new drugs. It was for a biotech company getting ready to launch its first drug for diabetes. What we heard was eye-opening. Here are the findings.

1ne: More people are turning away from connected TV in favor of streaming and are willing to pay more for ad-free content.

2wo: When asked what drug ads they had seen on TV, most could only name a couple of brands but could describe the ad content (they couldn’t remember the brand names).

3hree: The first action they mentioned when interested in a drug was going online, including a visit to the brand’s website. However, they said they would not decide to ask for the prescription based on a drug company website alone. Social media also had a low trust score among the panels.

4our: Number source of trust: their doctor. If their physician hesitates about writing an Rx, they would not ask again for the brand.

5ive: Consumers balance the drug’s efficacy with its side effects. I heard, for example, that several people would like to try Ozempic, but they are afraid of GI side effects.

6ix: In all 22 panels, not one person could name a drug company website they liked.

7even: Diabetics are upset that new drugs to lower A1C aren’t in enough supply. They also don’t like people using drugs for weight loss instead of diabetes.

8ight: They read news articles pertaining to new drugs and diabtetes but go online to seek out more information.

9ine: The vast majority has bought into the storyline that drug companies spend more on marketing than making drugs affordable. I also heard complaints about the rising cost of their company-sponsored health insurance.

10en: Overall, they don’t like drug company TV ads because they see too many of them, and are repeated too often.

So what are they going to do? Discussions are ongoing, but they may opt for a reduced TV budget and allocate more to reaching people with diabetes where THEY ARE online. Their sales force will also be measured by surveys to HCPs asking if they will prescribe their drug based on the information they received.