A Review of Research on Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Drugs: Directions for Future Research

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The purpose of this paper is to review empirical research on directtoconsumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs published in journals over the period from 1997 to 2012. A structured review of 130 published studies on directtoconsumer advertising of prescription drugs was conducted. Based on the structured review, the authors identified seven key research themes in DTCA. These are: consumers' attitudes toward directtoconsumer advertising, physicianpatient interaction, content of DTC advertisements, awareness, literacy and memory, consumer information source and search, effect of DTCA expenditures on financial performance, and physicians' attitudes toward DTCA. Avenues for future research are proposed. Future research needs to focus on more empirical studies, television DTCA, online and emerging media DTCA, new and improved measures, ethical issues and regulations, diverse countries, and nurse and pharmacist attitudes towards DTCA. The primary contribution of this paper is a thorough understanding of the stateoftheart in research on DTCA and future research directions.



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