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Effect of Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising Exposure on Information Search

Effect of Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising Exposure on Information Search

Objective: To compare the effectiveness of disease- specific (help-seeking) direct-to-consumer drug advertising (DTCA) and product-specific (product-claim) DTCA to stimulate postexposure external information search behaviors regarding drug and disease information from physicians, pharmacists, nurses, family, and friends, as well as the use of medical references and the Internet in the United States. Methods: A two-group, posttest-only experimental design was used (380 adult asthma patients were randomly assigned to view the product-specific or disease-specific DTCA). Likelihood to seek information about the benefits, risks, costs of a new drug option, and the symptoms and severity of asthma, as well as drug and disease information in general was evaluated. Results: Exposure to disease-specific DTCA resulted in a significantly higher likelihood to seek information regarding a new drug option in general (from physicians, nurses, and family and friends) and the benefits of a new drug option (from physicians and family or friends) for the treatment of asthma than exposure to product-specific DTCA. Conclusion: Developing and implementing promotional strategies that include diseasespecific DTCA could be useful as this type of advertisement appeared to be at least no less effective and in some respects more effective than product-specific DTCA in stimulating postexposure information search behaviors in experienced patients.