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Known as direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA), pharmaceutical companies in the United States are permitted to advertise prescription drugs directly to consumers. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine if an association exists between DTCA and health care-seeking behaviors. The theoretical framework for this study involved social learning theory, information integration theory, and prospect theory. The research questions identified if exposure to DTCA (a) is associated with physician office visits, (b) influences a patient/physician conversation regarding a prescription, (c) influences requesting a prescription, and (d) has an impact on patients' ratings of the overall interaction with the physician. Data were derived from an online survey adapted from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Participants included 235 college-affiliated adults. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and analysis of variance. The Bonferroni correction was used to control the family-wise Type I error rate. The most significant findings of this study are that DTCA is associated with patients asking more questions, having more office visits, and patients having a lower overall health status. Future researchers should consider a non-college-affiliated sample and the post-implementation impact of the Affordable Care Act. This study helps to address the community challenges of how DTCA impacts prescription drug use and costs, as well as patients' understanding of the associated risks. Having knowledge of the impact of DTCA can help patients and their communities, employers, and governments make more informed decisions that will positively impact their health, wellbeing, and prescription expenses.
Advertising and Promotion Management Commons, Business Administration, Management, and Operations Commons, Health and Medical Administration Commons, Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods Commons, Marketing Commons