Direct‐to‐consumer prescription drug advertising: a study of consumer attitudes and behavioral intentions

Tanuja Singh (Department of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)
Donnavieve Smith (Department of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To determine whether direct‐to‐consumer prescription drug advertising influences consumers' behavioral intentions.


Gathered data from 288 respondents using a pencil and paper mail survey. Respondents were asked about their knowledge and behavior regarding prescription drugs.


Indicated that while consumers generally have favorable perceptions of prescription drug advertising, their behavioral intentions are nevertheless influenced by a heightened awareness of specific branded drugs. Consumers feel empowered by the information provided in direct‐to‐consumer advertising and they are concerned about governmental attempts to regulate prescription drug advertising.

Research limitations/implications

Data was collected from a relatively homogenous sample with respect to ethnicity. Future research efforts could include respondents from diverse ethnic backgrounds and could incorporate questions regarding respondents' actual behaviors with respect to branded prescription drug medications.

Practical implications

Useful information for researchers, public policy makers and prescription drug manufacturers. Results suggest that consumer motivation to request branded drugs may be impacted by factors related to the quality of advertisements, trust in their physician, and personal competence. Consumer interest in advertised drugs may also depend on the strength of the relationship that they have with their physician.


This research fills an identified gap in the literature. While researchers have examined consumers' general perceptions of direct‐to‐consumer prescription drug advertising, little research has been done on the link between consumer perceptions and behavioral intentions.



Singh, T. and Smith, D. (2005), "Direct‐to‐consumer prescription drug advertising: a study of consumer attitudes and behavioral intentions", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 7, pp. 369-378.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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