Antecedents of drug requesting behavior
Shinde, Shashank Baburao
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Consumers, as patients want to play a more active role in their healthcare. The growth in direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs has increased consumers’ awareness of drugs resulting in increased prescription requests from physicians. This study examines the psycho-social antecedents of consumers’ drug requesting behavior. Using the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), our study demonstrated that consumers’ attitudes and subjective norms are important in shaping their intentions of requesting an advertised drug. Consumers formulate subjective norms after processing the perceived beliefs of their referent group. Consumers also make inferences about subjective norms of their referent groups on the basis of their own beliefs and attitudes. In addition to the attitudinal factors of TRA this research illustrates significant influence of consumers past behavior and trust in physician on their intentions to request a drug. Prior interaction between consumers and physicians motivates consumers to initiate a conversation with a physician about the advertised drug. This study provides evidences that consumers will not make bothersome requests about a prescription if they trust their physician. This research also supports the multidimensional nature of attitudes. Consumers use rationale and judgment to process relevant information and arrive at cognitive evaluation of the attitude object - known as evaluative attitude. They also generate emotive responses, feelings, and thoughts in relation to the attitude object - known as affective attitude. These two components are distinct but correlated. The study also highlights that DTC ads change consumers’ beliefs and attitudes by two mechanisms. In the belief-based process of persuasion, consumer’s process information contained about the product in the ad and use reasoning and judgment to form attitudes. In the non-belief based route of persuasion the influence of affect, generated after seeing an ad, creates favorable affective attitudes towards requesting the drug.