Health care industry spends $30 billion a year on marketing

Health care industry spends $30 billion a year on marketing

Health news Health care industry spends $30 billion a year on marketing Critics say patients are often misled by ads that advocate high-priced drugs, unapproved stem cell treatments or genetic tests. A pharmacy shelf in Midvale, Utah. George Frey / Getty Images file Breaking News Emails Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. SUBSCRIBE Jan. 8, 2019, 6:43 PM GMT By Liz Szabo, Kaiser Health News Spending on health care marketing nearly doubled from 1997 to 2016, soaring to at least $30 billion a year, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA. Related Medical device makers spend millions lobbying to loosen regulations in D.C. “Marketing drives more testing. It drives more treatments,” said Steven Woloshin, the study co-author and co-director of the Center for Medicine and Media at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. “It’s a big part of why health care is so expensive, because it’s the fancy, high-tech stuff things that get marketed.” His study captured only a portion of the many ways that drug companies, hospitals and labs promote themselves. Advertising doesn’t just persuade people to pick one brand over another, said Woloshin. Sophisticated campaigns make people worry about diseases they don’t have and ask for drugs or exams they don’t need. Consumer advocates say taxpayers pay the real price, as seductive ads persuade doctors and patients alike to order pricey tests and brand-name pills. “Whenever pharma or a hospital spends money on advertising, we the patients pay for it — through higher prices for drugs and hospital services,” said Shannon Brownlee, senior vice president of the Lown Institute, a Brookline, Massachusetts, nonprofit that advocates for affordable care. “Marketing is built into the cost of care.” A 23andMe genetic testing kit. Cayce Clifford / Bloomberg via Getty Images High costs ultimately affect everyone, because they prompt insurance plans to raise premiums, said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, a nonprofit that provides medical information to consumers. And taxpayers foot the bill for publicly funded insurance programs, such as Medicare. “These ads can be amazingly persuasive, and they can exploit desperate patients and family members,” said Zuckerman, who was not involved in the new study. Drug companies spend the bulk of their money trying to influence doctors, showering them with free food, drinks and speaking fees, as well as paying for them to travel to conferences, according to the study. Yet marketers also increasingly target consumers, said Woloshin, who wrote the study with his wife and longtime research partner, Dartmouth’s Dr. Lisa Schwartz, who died of cancer in November. The biggest increase in medical marketing over the past 20 years was in “direct to consumer” advertising, including the TV commercials that exhort viewers to “ask your doctor” about a particular drug. Spending on such ads jumped from $2.1 billion in 1997 to nearly $10 billion in 2016, according to the study. Related Consumer group says most U.S. cancer centers use misleading ads Holly Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said its ads provide “scientifically accurate information to patients.” These ads “increase awareness of the benefits and risks of new medicines and encourage appropriate use of medicines,” she said. The makers of genetic tests — including those that allow people to learn their ancestry or disease risk —also bombard the public with advertising. The number of ads for genetic testing grew from 14,100 in 1997 to 255,300 in 2016, at a cost that year of $82.6 million, according to the study. AncestryDNA spends more than any other company of its kind, devoting $38 million to marketing in 2016 alone. Some companies are touting stem cell treatments that haven’t been approved by federal regulators. The Food and Drug Administration has approved stem cell therapy for only a few specific uses — such as bone marrow transplants for people with leukemia. But hundreds of clinics claim to use these cells taken from umbilical cord blood to treat disease. Many patients have no idea that these stem cell therapies are unapproved, said Angie Botto-van Bemden, director of osteoarthritis programs at the Arthritis Foundation. Related Three Women Blinded by Bogus Stem Cell Treatment in Florida Stem cell clinics have boosted their marketing from $900,000 in 2012 to $11.3 million in 2016, according to the study. In recent months, the Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings to clinics marketing unapproved stem cell therapies. Twelve patients have been hospitalized for serious infections after receiving stem cell injections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medical advertising today goes beyond TV and radio commercials. Some online campaigns encourage patients to diagnose themselves, Woloshin said. The website for Restasis, which treats dry eyes, prompts patients to take a quiz to learn if they need the prescription eye drops, said Woloshin, who wrote a February study with Schwartz on the drug’s marketing strategy. The Restasis website also allows patients to “find an eye doctor near you.” Many of the doctors included in the Restasis directory have taken gifts from its manufacturer, Allergan, Woloshin said. The doctor directory includes seven of the top 10 physicians paid by the company, his study says. Related Gene tests can provide health clues — and needless worry In a statement, Allergan spokeswoman Amy Rose said the company uses direct-to-consumer advertising “to support responsible disease awareness efforts.” The ads “do not displace the patient/physician relationship, but enhance them, helping to create a well-informed and empowered consumer and patient communities.” But drug sites don’t just lead patients to doctors, Woloshin said. They also provide scripts for suggested conversations. For example, the website for Viagra, which treats erectile dysfunction, provides specific questions for patients to ask. The website for Addyi, often called the “female Viagra,” goes even further. Patients who answer a number of medical questions online are offered a 10- to 15-minute phone consultation about the drug for $49. Patients who don’t immediately book an appointment receive an email reminder a few minutes later. “This is more evidence,” Brownlee said, “that drug companies are not run by dummies.” Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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AmEx’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program offers exclusive benefits to cardholders at luxury hotels around the world – here’s how it works

AmEx’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program offers exclusive benefits to cardholders at luxury hotels around the world – here’s how it works David Slotnick Jan 8, 2019, 09.13 PM Facebook Linkedin WhatsApp Twitter Google+ Reddit Read full story
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network. Four Seasons The Four Seasons Maui, a Fine Hotels and Resorts property. If you have the Platinum Card® from American Express , you have access to an exclusive hotel-booking program run by AmEx: the Fine Hotels and Resorts program. Fine Hotels and Resorts is a curated list of luxury properties around the world. There are about 1,000 hotels and resorts on the list right now. When you book through Fine Hotels and Resorts – either through the AmEx Travel website , or by calling the number on your Platinum Card – you’ll get things like free daily breakfast, room upgrades, late check-out, and more. Read on to learn more about how the program works.
While American Express is ostensibly a finance house first and foremost, the company has a deep history in travel services, going all the way back to its foundation as a trans-continental shipping company similar to the original Wells Fargo. Just before the turn of the 20th century, the company began issuing traveler’s checks, continuing its expansion into travel services in 1915 when it launched Today, the travel division remains a core part of AmEx’s business.
By the time AmEx launched its first charge card in 1959, travel services were deeply tied to the company’s target market and reputation, and linked to the marketing for the new transactional tool. American Express’ travel services exist both as a totally separate part of the business from financial transactions, and as a complimentary, well-integrated part of the core financial products.
One area where this shows most clearly is in the AmEx Fine Hotels and Resorts program. What is Fine Hotels and Resorts?
The Fine Hotels and Resorts program, or “FHR,” is an exclusive, curated list of hotel properties and resorts around the world. Currently, there are about 1,000 properties in the program, although the list changes each year as new properties are added and dropped from the program.
Most of the properties are considered “luxury,” so these are essentially the best-of-the-best properties available, based on a matrix factoring in everything from location, amenities, and service, to price, value, and many other factors.
Learn more : I got more than $2,000 worth of value from the American Express Platinum credit card in my first year – despite its $550 annual fee FHR is only available to AmEx card holders who have either the Platinum Card , or the exclusive, invite-only Centurion Card (or “Black” card).
Essentially, FHR properties offer exclusive perks and benefits to eligible AmEx Platinum Card holders who book through the program. Fine Hotels and Resorts benefits
When you book a hotel through the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, you’re entitled to a handful of exclusive benefits. Reservations can be made through AmEx Travel’s website, or by phone by calling the number on the back of your Platinum or Centurion Card. Room upgrade
When you book through Fine Hotels and Resorts, you’re entitled to an upgrade to the next category of room, as long as one’s available when you check in.
Availability varies, of course, based on seasonality, hotel load factor, local events, and more. One way to have the most fun with the benefit is to book a slightly higher-category room off the bat, to try and get upgraded into a top-tier room or suite. Breakfast for two each day
The daily breakfast can be a big cost saver – even as you splurge on a luxury hotel. On-property breakfasts at high-end hotels and resorts can easily cost $25-50 per person, per day, so the tangible value of this benefit adds up quickly. Guaranteed late check-out
At FHR properties, anyone who books through the program is guaranteed a later, 4 p.m. check-out time. This can be a treat if you want to sleep in and enjoy a lazy day before your flight home, if you have a nighttime flight, or if you want to head out first thing in the morning and deal with checking out later. Early check-in
This one isn’t guaranteed – it’s based on availability – but if the hotel can get your room ready in time based on how busy it is, you can get an early noon check-in. In practice, you may be able to check-in even earlier – I’ve arrived at a hotel booked through FHR after a red-eye flight, and some of my group’s rooms were ready at 11 a.m. Complementary premium Wi-Fi Whether you’re looking to get some work done, stream Netflix before bed, or post the day’s pics to Instagram, high-speed internet is less of an “option” and more of a “must” when you’re staying at a hotel. Some hotels offer standard internet for free but charge for high-speed, while others have a fee for even standard. Bookings made through FHR mean that guests are entitled to complimentary Wi-Fi throughout their stay. On-property credit or amenity
When you book a hotel through FHR, you’ll get a “unique amenity” valued at $100. The amenity depends on the nature of the hotel or resort, but generally takes the form of a $100 credit to use on the property, like on food and drinks, or at the spa. Other benefits
Sometimes, FHR hotels offer a free third or fourth night – depending on the property, this can be a huge value. Free night offers will show up with your search results, or you can visit FHR’s special offers page.
Platinum Card members get 5x points per dollar spent on FHR reservations booked through AmEx Travel services. Plus, if you’re a member of the hotel’s own loyalty program, you’ll get points and any elite status benefits you’re entitled to – this is fairly useful, since usually booking through a third-party online travel agency means you don’t get hotel points.
Aside from the listed perks, there are benefits to FHR that are less tangible.
One useful thing about the program is that the list is carefully curated, and each property is thoroughly vetted before being added to the program. Sometimes, searching for a hotel can be overwhelming. A glut of options can make it hard to narrow down exactly what you want, and user reviews on sites like Trip Advisor can be hard to interpret – were there really problems, or is that person unrealistic and unfair?
The FHR list makes it easier to choose a property – and to bypass the misleading user reviews – by offering a much smaller list of properties than other booking services or sites, all of which are thoroughly vetted.
For example, at time of publication, a Hotels.com search for two nights next month in Washington, D.C. yielded almost 840 results. Even when filters were applied, there were still a few dozen properties on the list. The same search on the Fine Hotels and Resorts site, however, yielded just nine hotels.
One other, subtler benefit of booking through FHR is the service you get at the hotel. To be sure, since these are all five-star properties staffed by professionals, service will be top-notch no matter what. However, being a part of the FHR program is incredibly valuable to a hotel. While it’s hard to test scientifically, it can often seem that the hotel and its employees are more eager to “go the extra mile” for FHR guests. Price Of course, price is one of the biggest considerations when booking a hotel. To be sure, FHR hotels are mostly in the top “luxury” category – you won’t find an average Hilton or Holiday Inn in the search results – but rates at a specific hotel can vary significantly depending on where you book it through.
In a number of sample searches comparing FHR results with the hotel’s own website and several other online travel agencies, FHR was found to sometimes return higher rates than the hotel’s site (it was a crap shoot whether FHR would have higher, lower, or equal rates to the other online booking platforms). However, in most cases, the FHR benefits generally made up for that price difference, and actually turned the table to make it a better all-around value than booking directly. How to book through FHR
To book a hotel through the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, you can visit the FHR landing page , click on the FHR option under the “Benefits” tab when you log into your Platinum Card’s account, or call the number on the back of the card.
Remember that only Platinum Card holders (or invite-only Centurion Card members) can book through FHR. If you are eligible for the program, you might want to price compare with the hotel’s direct website, although between the occasional free third or fourth night, and the various benefits, FHR often comes out as the better option. Subscribe to our newsletter. Find all the best offers at our Coupons page .Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected] {{}}

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