Consumers Experiencing 'Information Overload' From TV Ads of Medication

MARCH 28, 2017
Colleen Hall
Many consumers feel overloaded by the amount of medication advertising that they see on television, according to data from a nationally-representative sample reported at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) 2017 Annual Meeting & Exposition (APhA2017) in San Francisco held this weekend.

Alina Cernasev, a PharmD, PhD student at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, reported the findings, which were obtained from a 2015 National Consumer Survey on the Medication Experience and Pharmacist Roles. About 1800 people responded with written comments, with 337 respondents commenting specifically on medication advertising.

Cernasev and collegues noted that an overwhelming majoirty of the comments about medication advertising were negative, about 96%, and included direct comments like "drugs shold not be advertised to the general public. It should be a choice between the doctor and the patient," and "advertising drugs to the public drives prices up and encourages people to take medications they don't need."

The researchers noted that their data were qualitative, so are not generalizable.

Several measures have been proposed to restrict direct-to consumer-advertising. As recently as June of 2016, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists called on Congress to ban direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising. It cited a 2002 Government Accountability Office report that found “pharmaceutical companies have increased spending on DTC advertising more rapidly than they have increased spending on research and development.”

Reference
Cernasev A, Schommer J, Brown L. Consumers' concerns regarding advertising of medication through media channels. Presented at: American Pharmacists Association 2017 Annual Meeting & Exposition. Mar. 24-27, 2017. San Francisco. 

 

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