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Direct to Consumer Advertising of Prescription Medication in the USA and its effects on clinicians and patients

Dr K Poirier-Brode1, Dr K Walberg2
1 The Permanente Medical Group, California, USA, 2 Kaiser Permanente, California, USA

Direct to consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs is legally permitted in the United States of America. DTCA exists in many forms of public media and is not limited to advertisements in traditional print magazines and newspapers, commercials on radio and television and ads on the internet. An ongoing debate exists over this controversial policy of DTCA of prescription medications.

This 45 minute power point lecture discusses the history of DTCA in the USA. Data used in this presentation are generated from review of medical journal articles on this topic. The presentation explores the effects of DTCA on the physician/ patient relationship. The factors influencing prescribing patterns and the risks versus benefits of DTCA are reviewed. Strategies used by clinicians to cope with the consumer pressure generated by DTCA are discussed.

The goal of the presentation is to provide health care providers sufficient background information to understand the policy of permission of direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs and this policy’s impact on physicians’ behavior and its impact on the status of patients’ health.

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