237626 Overdosing on prescription ads: The behavior effects of today's direct-to-consumer drug advertisements

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 10:30 AM

Christine Hall , School of Public Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC
Cheryl Lin, PhD , Policy & Organizational Management Program, Duke University, Durham, NC
Pikuei Tu, PhD , Policy & Organizational Management Program, Duke University, Durham, NC
Pharmaceutical companies' direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) via mass media has increased dramatically over the past decade. Until very recently, there has been little research into the effects of DTCA on patients requesting and doctors prescribing brand name drugs as well as the public health education implication. A survey of random sample representing the national population was designed and conducted to measure respondents' awareness of advertisements and their corresponding behaviors. The survey elicited responses regarding consumer faith in FDA regulation, opinion on policy, and attitudes toward DTCA. The analyses revealed that the influence of DTCA on health behavior--particularly consumers' interest and usage of marketed medicine—varies with individuals' medical concerns and status, media exposure, health knowledge, and trust in doctors vs. other information sources. Individuals who took a greater number of prescription medications and those who had concerns with a specific disease were more likely to recall and react to drug advertisements. In addition, those who knew more about the regulation of the drug advertisements had less favorable overall attitudes toward the marketing practice. This study also compared to Bell et al.'s 1999 research to determine difference in health behavior relating to DTCA through a decade of deregulation and change. The findings of this study indicate significant misperception of the regulations surrounding DTCA and alarming effect on drug usage decision; they point to a need for the general population to be better educated so that they can make more informed decisions about their health care.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the propensity of patients inquiring and requesting brand name drugs resulting from viewing TV ads 2. Compare the influences of consumer perception of FDA regulation on advertisement, medical status, and health knowledge on prescription drug usage 3. Evaluate the positive and negative consequences of direct-to-consumer advertisement on public health

Keywords: Behavioral Research, Marketing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have researched and taught consumer behavior and the effect of information on decision for many years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.