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J Allied Health. 2008 Summer;37(2):116-20.

Direct-to-consumer advertising: its effects on stakeholders.

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Student Health Center, College of Pharmacy, University of Houston Texas Medical Center, 77030, USA.


The escalating growth in the development of pharmaceutical drugs has caused the pharmaceutical industry to market drugs directly to consumers. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising has increased immensely in the past 15 years and continues to grow each year. The advantages of DTC advertising include an increase in consumer knowledge, patient autonomy, and possibly providing physicians and pharmacists with up-to-date information about the recent trends in the marketplace. However, there is also an equally notable list of disadvantages, which include concerns about the quality of information provided, loss in physician productivity due to time spent convincing patients that what they want is not in their best interest, and increases in the reimbursement expenditure of the insurers. Because of these conflicting outcomes, the issue of DTC advertising has become controversial. This report offers an overview of DTC advertising and focuses on its effects on physicians, pharmacists, consumers, insurers, the government, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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