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Consumer attitudes toward pharmaceutical direct‐to‐consumer advertising: An empirical study and the role of income

Mathew Joseph (Bill Greehey School of Business, St Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas, USA)
Deborah F. Spake (Mitchell College of Business, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA)
Zachary Finney (Mitchell College of Business, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA)

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing

ISSN: 1750-6123

Article publication date: 27 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine consumer attitudes toward direct‐to‐consumer (DTC) advertising and whether consumer attitudes regarding these types of advertisements differ based on income.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 168 consumers completed the survey on‐site at a pharmacy while waiting for their prescription(s) to be filled.

Findings

The findings indicated that low‐income consumers were more likely than higher income customers to: report being persuaded by DTC advertising to ask for an advertised drug; go to the doctor based on symptoms described in DTC advertising; and to prefer branded medication over generic alternatives.

Practical implications

The results provide useful information to policy makers and drug companies. The finding that these advertisements appear to impact lower income consumers to a greater extent than their higher‐income counterparts has both positive and negative implications. On the positive side, these ads appear to influence unhealthy, low‐income consumers to seek medical treatment. The negative implication concerns the effectiveness of DTC advertising in persuading low‐income consumer to prefer more expensive, branded drugs over generic alternatives.

Originality/value

Limited research has been done on the relationship between consumer perceptions of DTC advertising and differences in consumer groups based on income.

Keywords

Citation

Joseph, M., Spake, D.F. and Finney, Z. (2008), "Consumer attitudes toward pharmaceutical direct‐to‐consumer advertising: An empirical study and the role of income", International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 117-133. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506120810887916

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited