New York, NY, June 08, 2023 – United States Congressman Michael Lawler delivered a message at the MMM Media Convene Conference: Multicultural Marketing: Pharma’s New Frontier. The Congressman cited the disparities in messaging to ethnic minorities by the pharmaceutical industry. Lawler pointed out that: “Although the US accounts for only 4% of the world’s population, it accounts for 44% of global biomedical Research and Development investments.” Lawler also noted that “Last year, Congress appropriated an additional 45 billion dollars towards that research, and improvements in care for all Americans.”
The Congressman went on to state: “While every American can be justly proud of the life-saving research America has done, and the myriad new life-saving drugs that have been developed through our taxpayer dollars, the messaging about the life saving effects of these medicines is not reaching several of our highest risk segments. Regrettably, numerous minorities, who over-index in any number of life-threatening illnesses, are not being targeted by the messaging for these wonderful new medicines.”
Lawler, a member of the Congressional Cancer Caucus, and the Caucus on Deadliest Cancers, admonished the industry stating: “the messaging, the communication about life-saving breakthroughs developed with American taxpayer dollars should reach all Americans.” Furthermore, “Pharmaceutical companies have an ethical obligation to ensure that the Americans who contributed to their success are made equally aware of the benefits of these medical breakthroughs.” He also called out government agencies for “dropping the ball” in terms of the oversight of communicating the benefits of these medicines.
The congressman was joined by a panel of leading doctors representing the organizations of Indian American Physicians, Arab American Physicians and Filipino American Physician, (representing a combined estimated 250,000 physicians and healthcare professionals in the U.S.). One, by one each doctor detailed how their constituencies were not aware of the latest breakthroughs in drugs.
MMM moderator and senior digital editor Jack O’Brien quoted a study stating that mainstream American television viewers see 9 minutes of pharmaceutical ads each day, equaling approximately 16 hours of information – far exceeding the amount of time they will spend with their primary care physician annually. Filipino physician Dr. Maria Alfaro noted that this disparity is making the advertising the “de facto” primary care. And this lack of messaging to Filipinos was taking a toll on the community.
Emerging Networks, America’s largest Multicultural Television Platform, was host of the panel discussion. Its CEO, Tom Marsillo, explained that this is an opportunity for the pharma industry: “an opportunity to open a new growth segment, an opportunity to honor its commitment to the American taxpayers who fund their research, and ultimately an opportunity to save lives.”