Direct-to-Consumer Marketing of Pharmaceuticals
Over the past 20 years, the pharmaceutical industry has altered the advertising of prescription drugs. It has changed from once being targeted toward physicians to being directly aimed at the consumer. This is what we know as direct-to-consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals. While some may contend that direct-to-consumer advertising is more effective than doctors at motivating patients; research argues, “DTC is ineffective and will create a distraction in the examination room, inevitably drain healthcare dollars, dramatically increase unknown adverse effects and strain patient-doctor relationships (Stange, 2007).” This review of the literature on direct-to-consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals will focus on the ill advised prescription drugs that are presented straight to the consumer and possibly detrimental to their health. In the article “On TRACK: Intended and Unintended Consequences of Direct-to-Consumer Drug Market,” Frey (2007), discussed how “the shotgun approach of marketing to the masses of drugs designed for narrow use in specific patients can create a distraction in the examination room.” He mentions how a patient will enter an examination room, “suffering and requesting help; they are accompanied by their explanatory models and influences from popular advertising. Physicians enter with their expertise and desire to help, as well as their own values and beliefs such as, what constitutes depression and adjustment disorders, how these illnesses should be treated, how much a physician should give the patient. What emerges in the course of their interaction was a rich, complex dance in which both parties mutually influenced the other.” There is no doubt that prescription drugs are indeed an issue that has a major impact on public health and consumer welfare. The economical and societal effect of prescription drug advertising is a very important issue that strikes concerns for many. “By 2005, expenditures for...
References: Frey J. Selling drugs [eletter]. http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/eletters/5/1/6#5246, 11 February 2007.
Kravitz, R. (2000). Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. Western Journal of Medicine, 173, 221-222.
Stange, K.C. (2007). On Track: Intended and Unintended Consequences of Direct-to-Consumer Drug Marketing. Annals of Family Medicine, 5, 175-179.
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