New Elsevier Research Exposes Effects of Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Advertising

Consumer profiles predict behavior to prescription drug advertising

Philadelphia, PA, August 24, 2005 - Researchers have recently identified the wide-ranging effects of prescription drug advertising on consumers and how demographic and psychographic profiles help predict behaviors when exposed to prescription drug advertising. These findings were published in the themed June 2005 issue of Elsevier’s Research in Social & Administrative Pharmacy (RSAP) dedicated to the interaction of direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising and stakeholders in the medication use process.

The studies’ key findings include the following:

  • When exposed to direct-to-consumer advertisements, consumers with greater experience and involvement in health care tend to seek additional information from physicians, pharmacists, and the internet, while those who held positive views toward direct-to-consumer advertising and medications tend to seek prescriptions for the medications directly.
  • The methods through which drug risks were presented in advertising did not affect consumers’ perceptions of risk, but did affect their recall of the actual risk information presented.
  • Through discourse analysis, it was observed that the overall functions of a televised ad (promotional, informational, and aesthetic) were frequently blended. The text deployed several linguistic strategies to send a double message for promotional advantage, including semantic ambiguity, vagueness of certain words in particular contexts and voice-over risk messages at odds with upbeat visuals.

“Direct to consumer prescription drug advertising is a hotly debated issue, and with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America just releasing voluntary guidelines on consumer advertising, the discussion is sure to continue,” said Shane P. Desselle, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of RSAP. “It is my hope that the research presented in this issue and future research will help to put things in proper perspective and guide the opinions and policies of stakeholders in the medication use process.”


About RSAP
Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy is a quarterly publication published by Elsevier featuring original scientific reports and comprehensive review articles in the social and administrative pharmaceutical sciences. RSAP is a venue for publishing articles that proffer new models to guide existing research, make methodological arguments, or otherwise describe the results of rigorous theory-building research. RSAP also publishes special thematic issues that will be of interest and benefit to its readers and to the community at large.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey— and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 35,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries.

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