Direct to consumer advertising dissertation

Category: Food and drink,
Published: 09.01.2020 | Words: 2310 | Views: 372
Download now

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs is now common place in the current society. Every single household with a television understands DTC marketing as they disrupt their nightly programs. Every national mag or community newspaper presents advertising around the latest medicine remedy for what ails us. This multi-media approach is comparatively new to get pharmaceutical companies as recently such work were directed only at physicians who had been the sole decision makers think about medications. With the 1997 difference in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rules along with patients would like to be more involved with their own care and treatment, drug companies have extended their promotional efforts to add the consumer.

This essay look at some from the current polices concerning DTC advertising, positives and negatives of these advertisements, and the honest issues that arise from DTC advertising.

Need help writing essays?
Free Essays
For only $5.90/page
Order Now


Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising is a “promotion of prescription drugs through newspaper, journal, television and internet advertising.  (Direct-to-consumer advertising, 2010) These advertisings are directed towards the user, the consumer, and not the prescriber/physician.

Prescription drug promoting has been controlled by the U. S. Fda (FDA) seeing that 1962. All their Division of Medication Marketing, Advertising, and Sales and marketing communications (DDMAC) is responsible for ensuring that companies that straight advertise towards the public happen to be providing “information that is truthful, balanced, and accurately defined.  (FDA, 2010) Although the FDA has oversight about DTC promoting, it should certainly not impose pointless restrictions on them as they fall under the category of economic speech protected by the 1st amendment (Evans & Frieden, 2003, l. 387). The Federal Meals, Drug and Cosmetic Action requires that anyone who makes, packages, or sells prescription medications for individuals must disclose information in their advertisements regarding the products uses and dangers (U. T. Department of HHS, 1999, p. 3).

This information disclosure is called the brief synopsis. Contrary to thier name, the short summary is rather lengthy mainly because it must contain every risk associated with the drug’s approved make use of. Prior to regulating changes manufactured in 1997, these types of disclosures had to be included in every single advertisement making television ads impractical because of the restricted period of time available. These days there is a variation between printing and transmit advertising to ensure that only print ads need to contain this kind of brief synopsis. The DDMAC’s 1997 alterations now only require audio and/or visual advertisings to disclose two things. The medications major dangers in consumer-friendly language, difficulties statement, and give adequate supply for the buyer to access the complete product labeling (U. T. Department of HHS, 1999, p. 5). This can be attained by providing a toll free number to call, referencing the full advertisements in a produce ad, or making sure brochures are easily available outside of a physician’s office, like a drug-store or supermarket. By decreasing the amount of info required in these ads, commercials suddenly started to be a viable sort of marketing.

Advertising seen on tv or in magazines are not required to be posted to the FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION for acceptance prior to all their release; nevertheless , companies must submit their particular ads for the FDA after they first are available in public. The FDA is available to offer their very own advice to pharmaceutical firms when asked for help (FDA, 2010). After they see the advertising and if they will feel that that violates legislation, they will mail a warning letter requesting which the company end the advertising immediately. The letters of reference are posted on their site for open public inspection. The drawback to this technique is that a great ad that violates what the law states may be shown without oversight. If the alert letters do not rectify the specific situation, “the FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) can work while using Department of Justice to find injunctions against companies, or criminally prosecute firms.  (Vogt, june 2006, p. 26) The FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) also has the authority to seize drugs that it deems as misbranded and can reverse authorization for the drug.


There are numerous arguments on the benefits of direct-to-consumer marketing. Supporters of DTC advertising and marketing contend that ads may be educational, provide important information about health, and create sales to increase necessary r and d (R&D). One of the most commonly observed reasons is the fact DTC marketing has assisted consumers in “identify(ing) disease conditions and engage(ing) much more informed conversations with their physicians.  (Pfizer, 2011) Followers uphold that the advertising allows the doctor/patient relationship if it is a chat starter allowing for discussions upon disorders and options a patient might not have known how to speak about earlier. Most patients today are informed and desire a greater amount of involvement within their healthcare alternatives. DTC advertising and marketing gives the buyer power through knowledge. Crucial health information could be delivered in DTC promoting. These ads have the ability to reach millions of customers relatively quickly.

Through print and press advertising, pharmaceutical drug companies may play a useful role in raising awareness of certain conditions and disorders. Raising the public’s consciousness can showcase consumers to seek medical attention if they otherwise might not exactly have. Finding these conditions on television or in a magazine can lessen the stigma linked to them. Significant pharmaceutical corporations use the funds made from DTC advertising to finance their R&D. This r and d plays an integral part in making sure a drugs security which in turn helps you to save generic firms from having to repeat R&D on the same medication. This makes generic manufacturers one other supporter of DTC advertisings. By advertising new, name brand drugs, businesses are causing a requirement for the medication. When the drug offers lost the patent, physicians can begin prescribing the less costly generic substitute. The general manufacturer has profited by default on the large pharma’s campaign.


There are an equal number of allegations on the unfavorable effect of direct-to-consumer advertising. Opposing team of DTC ads argue that ads can be detrimental to the physician/patient romantic relationship, increase medicine costs, and harm public well-being. Those against DTC ads feel that they have the potential to alter the way doctors and sufferers interact with one another. A patient may see a particular advertisement and be convinced that they have a certain condition or that they desire a specific medication. The patient may then present to their particular doctor sense that they have clinically diagnosed themselves and request prescriptions whether or not not needed. The physician may then feel pressured to oblige the patient instead of discussing other, possibly less expensive or drug free, treatment options. This scenario can lead to over-prescribing and over-use of a particular drug based upon the effectiveness of similar. Others include argued that advertising is expensive and the pharmaceutical companies have to recoup their expense somewhere.

This may lead to the cost being passed on to the consumer as higher health professional prescribed costs. The amount of money spent on DTC ads features increase dramatically from 97 to june 2006 from $1. 1 billion to $4. 2 billion (GAO, 06\, p. 12). This increase expenditure could create higher health care costs for all the models. Another cost of DTC marketing could be with the expense of public health. Many consumers shortage the specialized knowledge necessary to evaluate the content of these ads and therefore take them at deal with value. They may not be fully conscious of the damaging side effects or interactions of the drug. DTC ads is seen as deceiving since they are not required to mention various other alternatives like diet, workout or other preventative measures. These alternatives could deal with the promoted condition with no medication. Simply by not including the alternatives, companies are advocating medicine use being a primary respond to medical conditions.

Moral Issues

Pharmaceutical companies have a substantial accountability to ensure that all their direct-to-consumer promoting is honest. Their products not only have the ability to help consumers nonetheless they may also cause potential damage. Advertising of the drug is not like advertising and marketing of some other product where you are trying to convince the consumer to acquire something they will don’t want. Drug promoting needs to teach the consumer whilst still promoting their merchandise. Persuasion tactics therefore should be ethical. How exactly does one start knowing if perhaps DTC promoting methods will be ethical? Available Persuasion: Theory and Practice, ethical marketing is defined as “a communication activity that ¦ permits maximum individual choice (Anderson, 78, p. 3). The key is that the consumer should be able to make a non-reflex choice with out feeling coerced. DTC advertisements should not depend on deceptive or perhaps manipulative strategies. As previously stated, the buyer can be viewed as a vulnerable target audience if they are being spoken to at a good that is over and above their capacity to understand (Baker & Martinson, 2001, l. 166).

Ethical marketing needs that these followers not be unfairly targeted because of this weeknesses. DTC advertising and marketing ethics is involved with what medicine companies really need or should not to do. Lying down is morally wrong and for that reason considered dishonest. Using is situated or false impressions in a DTC advertising distorts the info a consumer will get and can get a new choices they might make (Baker & Martinson, 2001, s. 160). As a result DTC advertising should not create false thoughts or leave out pertinent data just for the sake in the ad. The purpose of DTC advertising should not be increased sales but be more of any means to an essential social end which should be consumer education.

A good example of an moral advertisement can be one that utilizes those communications that show respect pertaining to the consumer who they are aimed. Respecting the customer means that their demands are placed prior to the needs of the advertiser. Presently, the DDMAC does not control the ethicalness of pharmaceutic advertising. Their very own mission declaration is, “To protect the population health by assuring pharmaceutical drug drug details is genuine, balanced and accurately communicated.  (FDA, 2010) “Ethical ads tell the truth about their product and do not try to pose its features or hide its disorders.  (Vaux) Unfortunately an ad may be truthful but still be considered unethical. Ads that play to “base man emotions including fear can be viewed unethical because they are just trying to promote feelings that would trigger the consumer to find relief through the advertiser’s merchandise.


Direct-to-consumer advertising continues to be integrated into the west and is likely not going to disappear. Just as you will find those who foyer against these types of ads, there are an equal number of proponents who also support all of them. Regulations had been changed to permit the advancement of the ads for their current place in our contemporary society. As such, the DDMAC is consistently monitoring DTC ads and definitely will need to be the methods to set honest boundaries and ensure they’re getting adhered to. Consumers must evaluate pharmaceutical advertisings critically in order not to always be persuaded just as much as they are educated. Although advocates of DTC advertising dispute they provide significant consumer information, too frequently the ads may operate dysfunctionally by “providing misinformation and inducing the buyer to make purchases that are not in either their short or long term interest.  (Baker & Martinson, 2001, p. 151) Ethical DTC ads should certainly serve an educational goal first and a advertising purpose second.

They should provide consumers information about alternatives along with the case representations in the risks their particular medications may possibly have. Underhanded ads happen to be those that might try to explain your faults, i. electronic. depression, then tell you they have the answer, my spouse and i. e. Prozac. These dishonest ads uses your emotions to cause you to consider you require a repair when actually you may not be. I believe we have a place to get direct-to-consumer advertising and marketing. Consumers are frequently looking for more and more information to help them make better informed decisions.

DTC ads, when done correctly, can be used to offer this information not just about medications nevertheless health conditions as well. Decreasing community stigma around certain medical issues is another benefits advertising may bring; especially if that opens entry doors for patients to have difficult discussions with their doctors. That said, I believe that the balance is with the FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) needing to take a more proactive role in how they manage DTC ads. I think that every ads needs to be required to proceed through a pre-approval process rather than the current relieve and retract method. It is difficult to take back again something that has already been seen and that may cause harm to the consumer.


Direct-to-consumer advertising. (2010, June 11). Retrieved 03 4, 2012, from Sourcewatch: Anderson, K. E. (1978). Persuasion: Theory and practice. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Baker, S., & Martinson, G. L. (2001). The LEST test: Five principles of ethical persuasion. Journal of Mass Media Integrity, 16(2), 148-175. Evans, G. W., & Friede, A. I. (2003). The Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of prescription drug producer speech: A primary admendment analysis. Food and Drug Legislation Journal, 58(3), 365-437. FDA. (2010, April 4). Prescription drugs. Retrieved Mar 4, 2012, from FDA: GAO. (2006). Prescribed drugs: Improvements needed in FDA’s oversight of direct-to-consumer promoting. Pfizer. (2011). Ethical Prospective. Retrieved Drive 5, 2012, from Pfizer: U. S. Section of HHS. (1999). Guidance for Industry Consumer-Directed Broadcast Advertisements. Food and Drug Administration. U. S. Department of Health insurance and Human Companies. Vaux, Ur. (n. d. ). What is the