Pharmaceutical firms spend as much as $545 million in bringing blockbuster drugs to markets with expansive marketing and promotion campaigns, a new study says.

Cutting Edge Information tracked branding efforts for 16 drugs in Phase III trials through 18 months of launch. Companies studied included Lilly, Wyeth and Novartis.

“It’s clear that the more proficient marketing organizations – those with the greatest resources and the deepest experience – are best able to position products for high-level sales,” said Eric Bolesh, senior research analyst at Cutting Edge Information, in a statement. “No matter what happens with a blockbuster, though, the industry’s best-selling drugs continue to require unparalleled levels of marketing support as they move to launch.”

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