The Public Health Impact Of Direct-To-Customer Advertising In The United States

And the global future of DTCA

Katherine Binns
Humphrey Taylor
Harris Interactive Inc.


There are two very different views of the impact of DCTA. Its critics believe that it stimulates demand for, and the use of, prescription drugs for which there is no real need; that it increases the consumption of more expensive drugs than are necessary or appropriate; that it puts a strain on doctor-patient relationships; and that it increases costs unnecessarily.

Supporters of DTCA believe that it increases the number of physician visits by patients who should see a doctor; that it increases the number of patients who receive appropriate treatment; that it increases compliance; and that it therefore makes a positive contribution to health outcomes. It is sometimes argued that DTCA saves money because early diagnosis and appropriate medication reduces the total cost of care, including hospitalization when serious conditions go untreated.