Physician Attitudes toward Pharmaceutical Drug Advertising

Susan M Petroshius, Philip A Titus and Kathryn J Hatch

Consumers' limited access to information regarding the availability and effectiveness of various prescription drugs has resulted in a heavy reliance by patients on the advice of their attending physician to select the appropriate prescription medication. Pharmaceutical manufacturers have long since recognized this dependency and have primarily directed their advertising efforts toward the medical community. However, the FDA's 1985 decision to lift the moratorium on the advertising of prescription drugs to consumers has changed the dynamics of the physician's decision process regarding which drugs to prescribe. The advent of such consumer direct pharmaceutical advertising affords patients the opportunity to be better informed about their prescribed medication options. Although the pharmaceutical industry has not rushed to advertise prescription drugs, there currently appears to be a growing willingness to reach consumers directly regarding the availability of new prescription medications such as Seldane and cosmetic pharmaceuticals such as Rogaine and Retin A (Alperstein and Peyrot, 1993). As a result, consumers in many cases now find themselves with sufficient information to directly affect the choice of which medication is ultimately prescribed by physicians.