More U.S. Adults Recall Risk Information in Prescription Drug Advertisements, Survey Finds
About 79% of U.S. adults recall risk information included in prescription drug advertisements, up from 76% last year, according to the eighth annual Rodale survey on direct-to-consumer advertising released Thursday, the New York Times reports. The survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, involved 1,504 adults interviewed between Dec. 28, 2004, and Jan. 12, 2005, and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
The survey found that:
- About 71% of respondents said they remember drug benefits presented in DTC ads, a 4% decline from last year;
- About 21% of respondents who asked their physician about an advertised medicine directly requested a specific drug, compared to 26% in 2004;
- About 15% said they first talked to a doctor about an illness after seeing a drug advertisement; and
- About 34% of respondents asked physicians about drugs they have seen advertised, compared to 31% in 1997.
Peter Pitts -- senior vice president for health affairs at public relations company Manning, Selvage & Lee and senior fellow for health care studies at the Pacific Research Institute -- said, "If people understand that drugs have risks, that is a step in the right direction. If companies can understand that and use that information to create better advertising, that's a good thing."
However, Kathryn Aikin -- a senior researcher at FDA's Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communication -- said, "We are very concerned about the direction that DTC seems to be taking," citing ads that contain unproven comparative claims between medications, misleading or distracting visual displays and graphics, hard-to-read text explaining risks and limited mention of the role of health care providers or a medicine's status (Ives, New York Times, 3/25). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.