Direct-To-Consumer Advertising Relies On Emotional Appeal
The authors assert that the use of emotional appeals may sway consumers in favor of a product and prompt viewers to discount information about risks and benefits that is important when considering medication use. These findings are especially important given the marked increase in direct-to-consumer advertising - the average television viewer sees as many as 16 hours of pharmaceutical advertising in a year.
An accompanying editorial by David Kessler, dean of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, questions who benefits from direct-to-consumer advertising when the ads do not convey important information about drug risks and benefits. He concludes that while there is nothing inherently wrong with pharmaceutical companies communicating directly with consumers, they should adhere to the standards and ethics of medicine, not the standards and ethics of selling consumer products that present minimal risk and that physicians need to use caution before writing a prescription when a patient asks for a product after seeing an ad on television.
Creating Demand for Prescription Drugs: A Content Analysis of Television Direct-to-Consumer Advertising By Dominick L. Frosch, Ph.D., et al
Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: Is It Too Late to Manage the Risks? By Douglas A. Levy, J.D.
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Contact: Kristin Robinson
American Academy of Family Physicians
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