Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Fam Med. 2018 May;16(3):211-216. doi: 10.1370/afm.2220.

An Updated Analysis of Direct-to-Consumer Television Advertisements for Prescription Drugs.

Author information

1
Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida applequist@usf.edu.
2
Klein College of Media and Communication, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

In 2015, the American Medical Association called for a ban of direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) for prescription drugs. Yet, the pharmaceutical industry spends more than ever on broadcast advertisements, with national health care costs largely driven by drug spending. An evaluation of these ads is critical, as these advertisements can impact the frequency which patients ask their doctors about medications.

METHODS:

A content analysis of prime-time direct-to-consumer ads was conducted across 4 major cable television networks. The ad content (n = 61) was coded for factual claims made regarding target conditions, appeals used, portrayal of medications, and lifestyle characteristics shown.

RESULTS:

We found a substantial decrease in the percentage of ads that conveyed information about the conditions being targeted, such as risk factors (16%) and prevalence (16%). Positive emotional appeals (94%) continued to be emphasized; yet there was decreased use of negative emotional appeals (51%), pointing to an overall more positive portrayal of a patient's experience with a medication. The lifestyles portrayed in the sample largely featured how products can enable more recreational activities (69%) and fewer ads (7%) presented alternatives to product use.

CONCLUSIONS:

Direct-to-consumer advertising continued to promote prescription drugs above educating the population. Improvement in the educational value of DTCA is likely to require regulatory action rather than reliance on self-regulation by the pharmaceutical industry.

KEYWORDS:

DTC; DTCA; content analysis; direct-to-consumer advertising; pharmaceutical industry; prescription drug advertising

PMID:
29760024
PMCID:
PMC5951249
DOI:
10.1370/afm.2220
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center