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Response Magazine June 2007

Pharmaceutical Market

“Health- Conscious Consumers Get Their Daily Dose”
by Courtney Beth Pugatch

As Response covered in its healthcare market feature in the
February 2007 issue, nearly 60 million Americans are without health insurance. This has resulted in these individuals having to pay large fees out-of-pocket for health care. The rising costs of healthcare are causing these individuals to skip doctor visits and even go as far to stray from traditional prescription drugs to find other sources to aid their ailments.

It wasn’t until several years ago that those in the industry noticed a
change in the pharmaceutical market. Patients required to prevent and exclude others from making, using, selling, offering or even importing these wonder drugs were starting to expire, giving competitors the opportunity to finally offer their products.

“What’s happened is that many of the prescribed drugs, like, Claritin, have lost their patents and have either been manufactured generically or they are now available without a prescription,” says Jeff Meltzer, president of New York-based Meltzer Media Productions. “That has (also) opened up the marketplace for the nutraceutical, homeopathic and natural cure companies.”

Meltzer knows first hand the specifics of direct response ad campaigns in the industry. His company has created both advertising campaigns and corporate videos for major pharmaceutical companies and many rising nutraceutical companies.

Knowing that these expensive drugs could now be obtained without a written prescription, many consumers are feeling proactive about their health.

Supplements, generic pills and other preventative treatments are currently available over the counter. And the best part for consumers—these are at least half the cost of their prescription counterparts.

“With a nutraceutical company, a person can get a product with exactly or almost exactly the same ingredients as the prescription drug they were taking for the same result. That’s empowering for many people and many times less expensive,” says Meltzer.

As healthcare costs continue to rise, many consumers now believe that taking over-the-counter (OTC) generic drugs and nutraceuticals are preventative methods to reduce health costs over a long period of time. Furthermore, many normally healthy individuals feel as though there is something wrong with them— perceiving themselves as sick or feeble— when they have to go to a doctor and obtain a written prescription for a drug.

“Many people now realize that great products are available to them without a prescription. Thanks to the Internet, people are able to research their problems and look for educated solutions without using
prescription drugs,” Meltzer explains.

In Meltzer’s experience in the industry, he believes there will always be new and better prescription drugs available to the general public from pharmaceutical companies. However it is getting more expensive and risky for them to invest in the development of new drugs, especially with no guarantees for approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

One the other hand, Meltzer says, “Nutraceutical companies with good clinical studies and qualified medical professionals can get their products on the market quicker and less expensively. But, more importantly reputable companies can put out the real problem solving products that are safe and effective.”