morefocus recently asked about people’s feelings towards prescription drugs and advertising. About 700 responded to questions regarding how the pervasive nature of these ads has affected the degree to which they feel informed as well as their feelings towards pharmaceutical companies. Not only did 82 percent of people think that T.V. has too many prescription drug ads, but 60 percent of them strongly agreed that this advertising has become excessive.
Although 51 percent of people tended to agree that knowing the names of specific brands helps them talk to their doctors, ironically 61 percent said they were not more apt to ask their doctor about a drug after seeing an advertisement for it. This contradiction is reconciled by the fact that most people, 62 percent, trust their doctors are well informed about new drugs on the market.
Although respondents generally agreed that there are too many prescription drug ads, 89 percent also agreed that including the side effect information within these ads is important. However, in an interesting contradiction, the overwhelming demand for side effect information met a lukewarm reception: 49 percent of people admitted that they rarely or never read this information.
While the above discrepancy could be attributed to people’s tendency to skip over any kind of advertisement, it does reflect respondents’ sentiments towards pharmaceutical companies specifically: 59 percent of respondents indicated that their trust in pharmaceutical companies has decreased over the past year. Thirty eight percent said their feelings haven’t changed and only three percent had more trust for drug companies. Consequently, the pervasive nature of these ads seems to be counterproductive. People’s general distrust of pharmaceutical companies overshadows the informative function of prescription drug ads.
This survey on prescription drug advertising found that people not only tend to trust their personal physicians’ recommendations over the media but also that the pervasiveness of drug ads has tarnished people’s images of pharmaceutical companies.