Los Angeles Times reporter Melisa Healy has assembled a great series of articles, appearing today (August 6) in the Health section of that paper:
See this article and click the several links for "related articles." Disclosure: Yours truly is prominently featured in the last in the series.
Here are some fact-updates from a couple of the articles:
According to Dartmouth marketing professor Scott Neslin, the return on investment for $1 spent on the following marketing techniques by the drug industry are: advertising in medical journals, $5.00; meetings or continuing education, $3.56; direct to consumer ads, $1.37; average detailing of drugs to physicians, $1.72; detailing of aggressively marketed drugs, >$10. (This shows why the industry is starting to sour on DTC ads, and continues to surprise us as to how great the payoff is from the old-fashioned journal ad.)
Data on drug reps: Healy estimates there are still about 100,000 of them despite recent talk of layoffs; they earn on average $81K annually (she does not say if this is before or after bonuses).