Exposure to DTC ads leads to information seeking

IN SUMMARY: Proponents of DTC advertising argue that advertisements can raise awareness about treatments and health conditions, though others say that DTC advertising can lead to overprescribing. However, the authors of a recent study found that information seeking behavior following exposure to DTC advertising. Some of these studies associated information seeking more strongly with patients with chronic conditions and those with a more positive view of DTC advertising.

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DTC Objectives-New Drug Launch

IN SUMMARY: Launching a new drug in today’s challenging market can be tough. Your first objective, when it comes to DTC marketing should be to reach your target micro-segments with relevant messages. Today, one message for all segments doesn’t work. More emphasis on digital that works and less emphasis on mass channels.

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Scientific American’s flawed DTC study

IN SUMMARY: According to a recent study in Scientific American, ” the FDA’s assumption that more risk information leads to greater concern about risk is misplaced. Across six experiments, comprising of over 3000 US participants, we reliably find that when drug commercials include all side effects (both major and minor), in line with the FDA’s regulations, consumers’ judged the overall severity of drug side effects to be lower than when exposed to only major side effects. This lowered assessment of severity led consumers to prefer the drug more—and made them willing to pay more for the drug”. This, to say the least, is a hugely flawed study.

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DTC: less effective than we thought?

  • Follow up research with patients who were on therapy found that less than 2% of patients said that DTC ads were the primary factor in asking for a specific therapy.
  • The number one driver was recommended from HCP followed by online research and feedback from social media.
  • Patients said they “don’t pay attention to drug ads” because they are too repetitive and don’t address their needs.
  • Pharma websites continue to rank low on “meeting my needs” from online health seekers.

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DTC advertising benefits consumers

  • DTC advertising is designed to provide scientifically-accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options.
  • There is never any requirement or obligation for physicians to prescribe a particular medication, as was confirmed by 91 percent of physicians in FDA’s survey.
  • Beyond increasing patient awareness of disease (including undiagnosed conditions) and available treatments, DTC advertising has been found to increase awareness of the benefits and risks of new medicines and encourage appropriate use of medicines.
  • In addition, DTC encourages patients to visit their doctors’ offices for important doctor-patient conversations about health that might otherwise not take place.

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