WHAT’S UP?: It’s time to admit that the FDA is completely out of touch regarding DTC advertising. Fair balance is not being read in ads or listened to on TV, and the language used in fair balance is too often complicated for online health seekers.
QUICK READ: How has the pandemic affected DTC TV ads and what are people doing to learn more about new prescription drugs? These were the questions we posed in an online and phone survey. Here is what we learned…
- Women in the United States have long lagged behind their counterparts in other high-income countries in terms of access to health care and health status.
- U.S. women report the least positive experiences among the 11 countries studied. They have the greatest burden of chronic illness, highest rates of skipping needed health care because of cost, difficulty affording their health care, and are least satisfied with their care.
- More than one-third of women in the U.S. report skipping needed medical care because of costs, a far higher rate than the other countries included in the study.
- Nearly 80 percent of the patients who looked up things online before seeing a doctor reported that their searches actually improved their experience. (Source: Anthony M. Cocco, a doctor at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, and the lead author on a recent scientific study about the search habits of people before they show up in an E.R.)
- In one study, researchers found that only one of the top 54 results for “endometriosis” — the subject of over 4.5 million searches annually — led to a page that contained what was deemed to be accurate information about the condition.
- The study’s author recommends skipping the kind of scientific papers you might find on Google Scholar or PubMed; they often contain unusual cases and bewildering terminology.
Last week I attended some research whose objective was to measure online health seekers’ attitudes towards the use of social media and BOTS for drug and medical device companies. The research was qualitative and consisted of of all demographic groups. They didn’t hold back and were willing to discuss how, why and where they go online for health information. Here are the topline results.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Target audiences are paying attention to DTC TV ads, but the results are not what DTC marketers want. DTC TV ads increase awareness of new products and lead to visit to pharma product websites, but patients “comparison shop” treatments and even when they ask about/for a product it’s still up to their doctor to determine which one is right for them.