Disease-specific direct-to-consumer advertising for reminding consumers to take medications

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Objective To assess the relationship between disease-specific direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, via traditional advertising effectiveness measures, and consumers’ self-reported medication-taking behavior.

Methods Data were gathered for 514 respondents (age 18 and above) using an online survey panel. Participants were exposed to a disease-specific (i.e., nonbranded) DTC advertising for depression. The advertising stimulus created for the study was based on the Food and Drug Administration guidelines for disease-specific DTC advertising and modeled after current print disease-specific DTC advertising. Participants reviewed the advertising stimulus through the online program and then responded to a questionnaire containing closed-ended questions assessing the constructs. Data were analyzed using chi-square tests. All tests were interpreted at an a priori alpha of 0.05.

Results Significantly more respondents who were highly involved, paid more attention to the advertisement, and were responsive to DTC advertisements in the past indicated that the disease-specific DTC advertising stimulus reminded them to take their depression and other medications.

Conclusion These exploratory results show disease-specific DTC advertising can help people remember to take their prescription medication when viewed, which may lead to more positive medication-taking behavior and increased medication adherence. Additionally, given the fair balance and legal issues surrounding product-specific DTC advertising, disease-specific DTC advertising can serve as an effective component of the marketing mix for pharmaceutical manufacturers. Future research should attempt to study the impact of disease-specific DTC advertising on consumers’ actual medication adherence using standardized adherence measures such as prescription records.

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Journal of the American Pharmacists Association



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This article was published in Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, Volume 55, July-August 2015, pages 434-437.

The published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1331/JAPhA.2015.14234

Copyright © 2015 American Pharmacists Association.

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