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drug advertising, drug sales, preventive drugs



  1. Nilsson, J. Lars G. PhD
  2. Melander, Arne MD, PhD


The objective of this study was to survey how introduction of new drugs and promotional activities influence drug sales in Sweden. All drugs on the Swedish market were categorized as curative, symptom-alleviating, substitutive, or preventive. The number of new drugs introduced, drug sales in volume and value, and the number of drug advertisements appearing in the major Swedish medical journal during 1986-2002 were determined for each of the 4 drug categories. Between 1986 and 1998, the relative shares of the 4 drug categories were relatively constant. From 1998 to 2002, the share of new preventive drugs increased from 24% to 30%, their share of advertisements increased from 20% to 35%, and their sales value increased from 25% to 30%. During the same period, the shares of other drugs decreased correspondingly. Pharmaceutical companies have shifted their attention to the introduction, advertising, and sales of preventive drugs in an attempt to exploit preventive medicine. This might lead to waste of resources when expensive preventive drugs are used by numerous patients over many years, as the benefit of preventive drugs for the individual patient cannot be judged easily.