Direct-to-consumer television advertisements of prescription drugs and their impact on physician prescription-writing tendencies

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Albertson, Jocelyn
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Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication offers two majors: Advertising (instructing students in applied communication for work in business or industry), and Journalism and Mass Communication (instructing students in various aspects of news and information organizing, writing, editing, and presentation on various topics and in various platforms). The Department of Agricultural Journalism was formed in 1905 in the Division of Agriculture. In 1925 its name was changed to the Department of Technical Journalism. In 1969 its name changed to the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications; from 1969 to 1989 the department was directed by all four colleges, and in 1989 was placed under the direction of the College of Sciences and Humanities (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences). In 1998 its name was changed to the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication.
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This study explores the impact of direct-to-consumer television (DTC) prescription drug advertisements on physicians' attitudes toward the pharmaceutical products featured in those ads and their tendency to prescribe those products. In doing so, it examines doctors' responsiveness to patient requests resulting from exposure to such ads. It applies the tenets of the diffusion of innovations theory and the two-step flow hypothesis to better understand the role of patient-doctor interpersonal interaction on physicians' prescription-writing tendencies. This study was inspired by Petroshius, Titus and Hatch (1995) who explored the impact of physicians' attitudes toward pharmaceutical company advertising on physicians' prescription drug writing habits and responsiveness to patient requests. The current inquiry replicates the Petroshius et al. study's objectives although it is a bit more specific in its purpose, focusing on television DTC ads. A self-administered questionnaire was sent to 210 licensed Iowa physicians who are general or family practitioners. The physicians were randomly selected from the 2004 Iowa Medical Society Directory. The findings showed that Iowa physicians are not in favor of televised DTC advertising of prescription products. Furthermore, the results support a revised version of the two-step flow: physicians' attitudes are directly linked and are important contributors to their tendencies to prescribe a product their patients learned about from ads they saw on television.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2004