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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 1147

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Woloshin S, Schwartz LM, Welch HG.
The value of benefit data in direct-to-consumer drug ads.
Health Aff (Millwood) 2004 Jan-Jun; Suppl Web Exclusives:W4-234-45
http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/reprint/hlthaff.w4.234v1


Abstract:

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical ads typically describe drug benefits in qualitative terms; they rarely provide data on how well the drug works. We describe an evaluation of a “prescription drug benefit box”-data from the main randomized trials on the chances of various outcomes with and without the drug. Most participants rated the information as “very important” or “important”; almost all found the data easy to understand. Perceptions of drug effectiveness were much lower for ads that incorporated the benefit box than for ads that did not. Most people we interviewed want benefit data in drug ads, can understand these data, and are influenced by them.

Keywords:
Adult Advertising/methods* Aged Consumer Participation* Drug Industry/organization & administration* Female Humans Male Middle Aged Pharmaceutical Preparations* Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S. Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S. United States

 

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What these howls of outrage and hurt amount to is that the medical profession is distressed to find its high opinion of itself not shared by writers of [prescription] drug advertising. It would be a great step forward if doctors stopped bemoaning this attack on their professional maturity and began recognizing how thoroughly justified it is.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963