I modified an image of the famous "Welsh Wanker" to illustrate the "muscle" analogy suggested by Jimenez. The "S&M Arm" of the "Pharma Wanker" represents the overspending on sales and marketing, whereas the "R&D Arm" represents the underspending on research and development.
"Wanker," BTW, is a pejorative term of British origin. It initially referred to "one who masturbates" but has since become a general insult commonly meaning wasting time or, in this case, money.
According to Cegedim Strategic Data, Novartis is among the top 10 (maybe #4 or #5) direct-to-consumer (DTC) spender -- not a shabby "Pharma Wanker" as far as Sales & Marketing muscle goes. The chart below shows the top 10 DTC spenders between July 2011 and April 2012.
I don't have data on R&D spending, so I can't judge the relative muscle size of Novartis's "R&D Arm" compared to its "S&M Arm." It remains to be seen, however, whether Novartis will let the latter atrophy a bit and step up development of the former.
In a previous post, I predicted that DTC spending by the pharmaceutical industry in general will decrease agin in 2013 (see "Some Interesting Pharma Predictions for 2013"). When a CEO of a major pharma company says the industry should spend less on sales and marketing, it signals that my prediction may come true in spades!