Pharmaceutical Advertising Works, But At What Cost?; BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Finds Prescription Drug Spending Spurs Escalating Health Care Costs. | Health Care > Health Care Regulation & Policy from AllBusiness.com Drug companies spent $2.5 billion on direct-to-consumer ads in 2000, a 35-percent increase from the $1.8 billion spent in 1999. Merck & Company's Vioxx was the most-heavily advertised drug and accounted for more of last year's increased drug spending than any other single drug. Merck spent $160.8 million to promote Vioxx to consumers - more than ,more>PepsiCo spent to advertise Pepsi or Budweiser spent to advertise its beer, the study said.