Health professionals’ views about direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines as a health communication approach


  • N. Khalil Zadeh
  • K. Robertson
  • J. Green


Background: Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines (DTCA) is legal only in New Zealand and the United States, but it reaches other countries through the Internet. In New Zealand, DTCA is self-regulated and there is a concern regarding the ethicality and the nature of prescription medicine advertising. Based on corporate social responsibility (CSR), pharmaceutical companies should interact legally and ethically within society and subsequently offer DTCA so that even lay people can make informed decisions. Therefore, this study examines health professionals’ opinions of DTCA as a health communication approach to explore how DTCA can provide individuals with the information necessary to be able to make informed decisions. Methods: This study is an exploratory qualitative study applying semi-structured in-depth interviews with 30 health professionals in New Zealand. Means-end chain approach and thematic analysis will be used collectively to identify the attributes and values required in DTCA to help individuals make informed judgments. Expected results: This research will reveal health professionals’ opinions regarding the effects of DTCA on individuals and society, and suggestions on how to offer medicine advertising that facilitates informed judgments. Current stage of work: Semi-structured in-depth interviews with health professionals are currently being performed. Discussion: This research will support health policymakers and advertisers by providing a guide for future medicine advertising, and by improving advertising of medicines, it will also improve patients’ decisions.





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