Pharmaceutical advertising was historically directed toward health care professionals and mainly communicated through medical journals. The arrival of direct-to-consumer advertising has sparked both praise and criticism.
Although current Food and Drug Administration requirements for drug promotion were written from a health care professional perspective, the same regulations have been applied to advertising directed at consumers. This has led to questions regarding the appropriate method for communicating detailed medical information.
Rigorous research is needed to evaluate and determine the most effective format for communicating benefit and risk information to consumers. New standards for drug advertising to consumers should be grounded in data derived from this type of research.
[This article is reprinted with permission from "Direct-To-Consumer Advertising: Developing Evidence-Based Policy To Improve Retention And Comprehension" first published in Health Affairs.]