FDA DTC advertising survey released

April 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

Results of a new survey detailing the attitudes of consumers toward direct-to-consumer print and television advertising for pharmaceuticals have been released by the Food and Drug Administration's Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications.

The 58-question survey, "Attitudes and Behaviors Associated with Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Promotion of Prescription Drugs," was conducted over the phone with the cooperation of 1,081 consumers. An additional follow-up written survey, the results of which had not been released at press time, looked at consumer recognition of 12 direct-to-consumer advertising campaign.

The survey revealed that 30% of consumers who have seen a doctor in the last three months, and 39% of consumers who have not seen a doctor in the last month read none of the fine print information in print DTC drug ads. However, 70% of consumers who were "especially interested" in an advertised drug would read all of the information as opposed to the 2% to 3% who would read none of the fine print.

Advertising influenced roughly half the respondents to look for more information about the drug advertised or their personal health, but only 27% of those who had seen a doctor in the last three months and 8% of those who had not seen a doctor in the last three months were ever prompted by an advertisement to "ask a doctor about a medical condition or illness of [their] own that they had not talked to a doctor about before."

Full results of the survey, which also looked at how consumers perceived their doctors' reactions to queries about advertised prescription drugs, are available at www.fda.gov/cder/ddmac/dtcindex.htm#Q1. PR

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