Direct‐to‐consumer advertising of prescription drugs: help or hindrance to the public's health?

Greg Finlayson (Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)
Ross Mullner (School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The purpose of this paper is to review the issues regarding direct‐to‐consumer advertising that have been identified in the literature from the perspective of consumers, consumer groups, physicians, the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry.


Literature from international sources was reviewed to identify themes relating to direct‐to‐consumer advertising.


Direct‐to‐consumer advertising is expressly permitted in only two developed countries (USA and New Zealand). All other countries place various limitations on the practice. The debate surrounds whether or not the advertising provides a public health benefit.


The debate over direct‐to‐consumer advertising continues in jurisdictions around the world. This paper identifies and summarizes the issues that are being considered.



Finlayson, G. and Mullner, R. (2005), "Direct‐to‐consumer advertising of prescription drugs: help or hindrance to the public's health?", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 7, pp. 429-431.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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