Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines in the United States and New Zealand: an analysis of regulatory approaches and consumer responses

Janet Hoek and Philip Gendall
Massey University
John Calfee
American Enterprise Institute

INTRODUCTION

New Zealand and the United States are the only advanced nations that permit direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription medicines. Neither American nor New Zealand regulators, however, anticipated DTCA. Rather, DTCA arose because it was not prohibited and, once started, was accommodated by existing law. However, critics have questioned the wisdom of permitting promotions that they argue exist because of a regulatory loophole (Social Audit 2000; Toop et al. 2003).