Numbers OpEd by John Mack

“Everything is numbers” is the tagline of the hit TV show “Numb3rs”. “People lie, number don’t,” says Charlie, the main character of the show.

This month, I use numbers to analyze benefit and risk information in direct-to-consumer (DTC) print ads. What are the numbers saying?

Well, you’ll have to read the article “Print DTC: How Does It Measure Up?” to find out.

Keep in mind that I am not advocating that the FDA adopt a quantitative approach to regulating DTC ads. I am merely establishing a baseline for the “less is more” risk communication hypothesis that currently is being promulgated by FDA and advertisers.

After all, if you are talking about “less” vs. “more” of something, it is useful to know how much of that something is currently there. As an analogy, if I say that pharmaceutical marketers should be paid less or paid more, one would like to know what they are currently getting paid. Measuring what the salaries are, however, in no way is a statement of what marketers are worth.

Salary ChartMM&M’s Career and Salary Survey
Speaking of marketing executives’ salaries, MM&M’s Career and Salary Survey claims that the average salary for VPs of Marketing is $179,000. This is based on only 29 survey responders, 23 of whom are employed by manufacturers (Rx, OTC, Biotech, devices, etc.). The high was $310,000. All VPs also received an average bonus of $48,600.

In contrast, Peter Rost, whose new book “WHISTLEBLOWER: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman” is reviewed in this issue, claims his Pfizer salary was $600,000 when he was VP of Marketing at Pfizer.

According to the MM&M survey, salaries in the biotechnology sector (chart; third pair of bars from top) are now higher than those in the Rx sector (chart; top). In fact, it’s the only sector in which salaries have increased over the past year.

Rx drug company salaries are decreasing while biotechnology company salaries are increasing. The numbers don’t lie: expect much more biotech marketing in the years ahead. If nothing else, these VPs have to justify their salaries!

Vol. 5, No.8: September 2006

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