DTC ads prompt discussion with docs

January 1, 2003

Pharmaceutical Representative

Twenty percent of consumers say that DTC advertising has prompted them to call or visit their doctor to discuss the prescription drug they saw advertised.

Twenty percent of consumers say that direct-to-consumer advertising has prompted them to call or visit their doctor to discuss the prescription drug they saw advertised, according to PharmTrends, a study of consumer behavior by Uniondale, NY-based market research organization Ipsos-NPD.

The PharmTrends August survey found that 50% of consumers had seen advertising for prescription products in the previous 12 months, up from 47% in the February survey.

The study also found that:

•Â Twenty-two percent of respondents stated that direct-to-consumer advertising made them aware of potential drug options for their condition or conditions.

•Â Ten percent stated that drug advertising reminded them to refill a prescription.

•Â Five percent said they were prompted to switch from their current drug therapy to a different drug that they had seen advertised.

"Our results show that prescription drug advertising pays off, not only by enhancing branded prescription drug awareness and encouraging trial use, but also by reminding patients to fill or refill their prescriptions," said Fariba Zamaniyan, director of Ipsos PharmTrends.

Most recalled brands

Certain brand-name prescription drugs yield high levels of advertisement recall among their purchasers, PharmTrends reports. New York-based Pfizer's Viagra® (sildenafil citrate) tops the list for ad recall: 98% of purchasers of Viagra recalled seeing an ad for the product. Pfizer and Peapack, NJ-based Pharmacia's Celebrex® (celecoxib) closes that top ten list, with an ad recall of 78% of buyers (see sidebar for the complete list).

"With more 'blockbuster' products going off-patent over the next few years, it will be more important than ever for drug manufacturers to raise awareness of existing and upcoming formulations," Zamaniyan said. "Consumers seem receptive to drug promotions, particularly if they, or a family member, have an ailment. Drug companies who use direct-to-consumer advertising effectively - to make consumers more informed buyers and build long-term loyalty - will be the most successful in extending the life of their products." PR

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