Consumer responses to prescription and non-prescription drug advertising
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The purpose of this study is to compare consumers’ responses to prescription and non-prescription drug advertising and examine where the differences originate by testing two proposed models; one model is based on the modified hierarchy-of-effects model, and the other is based on the consumer socialization framework. A total of 819 adults, age 18 or older, who had taken any prescription drugs in the last six months, participated in an online survey, and 461 applicable surveys were used in the data analysis. The research found: • Over 80% reported that they have seen an advertisement for Rx drugs during the last six months, whereas 74% reported that they have seen an advertisement for OTC drugs during the last six months. Respondents reported that they were exposed to prescription drug advertising more often than non-prescription drug advertising. • There was no significant difference between consumers’ perceptions of prescription and non-prescription drug advertising in terms of information utility, trust, skepticism, and the perceived importance, except for attitude. However, consumers held more positive attitudes toward non-prescription drug advertising than toward prescription drug advertising. • The majority of respondents engaged in at least one behavior after they were exposed to drug advertising. Respondents engaged in more extensive information searches triggered by non-prescription drug advertising than prescription drug advertising. For both prescription and non-prescription drug advertising, the Internet was the most common source for searching for more information about the drug or their health. • The perceived amount of attention paid to drug advertising, the amount of exposure to mass media sources for obtaining drug information, and the number of non-prescription drugs taken on a regular basis were most consistently found to be significant predictors of behavioral outcomes of drug advertising. Involvement with drugs and perceived drug safety were the most consistently found to be significant predictors of attitudinal outcomes of drug advertising. The importance of these findings in relation to the relevant literature and implications of the results were discussed, followed by suggestions for future research.
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