Bristol Myers to Delay Ads

(This story first appeared in Wednesday's Business Watch e-mail, from our partner, Evansville Business .)

Bristol Myers Squibb has announced it will wait a year after the launch of any new drug before advertising it directly to consumers to give doctors and patients time to discuss new therapies.

"When we do advertise on television, it will be to appropriate audiences at appropriate times of the day," the company stated on its Web site. The drug industry spends more than $3 billion annually advertising prescription drugs directly to U.S. consumers, with products for arthritis, allergies and "male" dysfunction the most numerous.

Television ads for arthritis drugs all but disappeared after drug-maker Merck pulled ads for Vioxx late last year after data showed the drug could increase the possibility of strokes and heart attacks.