Antecedents and Consequences of Attitudes Toward Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Drugs

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In 1997 the FDA reinterpreted its regulations such that major statements in advertisements could be much simpler than previously required. Since then, television advertisements for prescription drugs have become common. Research has shown that DTC advertising affects brand share positively and increases category sales and that consumer awareness of advertisements for nationally advertised prescription drugs is high, and particularly high among users of prescription drugs and those with poor health conditions (Kaiser Family Foundation 2004). Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) has been the subject of increasing debate in the past decade. Proponents claim that DTC advertising raises awareness about diseases and educates consumers, while opponents contend that DTC advertising fuels the rise in drug consumption. With DTC advertising expenditure reaching more than $4 billion in 2004, how DTC advertising affects consumers' health decision making process becomes a key issue (Kaiser Family Foundation 2004).



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