The Newark Star-Ledger reports that the findings are likely to accelerate the growing debate over rising drug prices and patent protection, which drug makers often defend by citing higher development costs.
"The brand-name drug makers call themselves research-based companies, but their own employment data shows they pay more attention to marketing," said Alan Sager of Boston University School of Public Health, who examined employment at 40 drug makers.
The study found that the number of people working in research and development between 1995 and 2000 declined 1.7 percent, to 48,527. At the same time, the number of marketing personnel rose 58.7 percent, to 87,810, despite budget-slashing mergers.
Jeff Trewhitt, a spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America trade group, argued personnel numbers "have very little meaning" in light of the rising number of new drugs for which regulatory approval was sought.
"One reason for more sales representatives is that there are more products to talk about," Trewhitt told the newspaper. "In the 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration approved 239 new drugs. It approved 370 in the 1990s."
However, Sager noted research hiring also should have risen and that employment data didn't include outside sales contractors or ad agencies used by drug makers.
To view the Newark Star-Ledger article, click here.
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g makers have hired more people for marketing jobs than research-and-development jobs, despite claims they spend more on the latter, according to a new study.