Introduction The purpose of this study is to characterize contemporary trends in direct-to-consumer advertising of urological pharmaceutical products on American prime-time television programs. Television is the highest expenditure segment of the consumer drug marketing industry. The extent of advertising in urology and its potential impact on patients are not well understood. Methods We retrospectively analyzed an indexed database of prime-time news broadcasts on 5 national networks in the United States. The database was queried with the names of 77 urological pharmaceutical products to identify all commercials that aired during a 36-month period between 2010 and 2013. Noncommercial segments were excluded. Descriptive and linear regression analysis was performed. Results We analyzed 4,574 broadcasts, representing 3,067.5 hours of prime-time television. A total of 2,068 commercials for 8 products and 4 urological indications were aired, including sildenafil and tadalafil for erectile dysfunction; 2 testosterone products for hypogonadism; fesoterodine, oxybutynin and solifenacin for overactive bladder; and sipuleucel-T for metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer. Commercials for male oriented indications accounted for 90% of the sample. At least 1 urological advertisement was contained in 1,744 broadcasts (38%). The introduction of television marketing for newly approved testosterone supplementation products in 2012 corresponded to strongly linear growth in overall urological advertising, reaching peak levels in 2013. Conclusions Urological pharmaceutical products have been consistently advertised on television. Commercials have extensively targeted male oriented indications. Viewers of national news programs were exposed to urological advertising during about 40% of broadcasts with steadily increasing exposure since 2012. Providers should be aware of these trends to contextualize demand and monitor prescribing patterns.
- direct-to-consumer advertising
- drug industry
- urological agents
ASJC Scopus subject areas