Being direct

Zid, Linda Abu-Shalback
January 2005
Marketing Management;Jan/Feb2005, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p4
This article discusses the study, Effects of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising on Medication Choice: The Case of Antidepressants, which appeared in the fall 2004 issue of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. Researchers Julie M. Donohue and Ernst R. Berndt use discrete choice analyses to examine the effect of direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) on individual choice of antidepressant medication. The authors assess the association between aggregate monthly spending on product-level DTCA and individual-level choice of antidepressant between January 1997 and December 2000. They find no effect of DTCA spending on drug choice, except for a small difference in people diagnosed with anxiety disorders, who are more likely to fill prescriptions for advertised drugs. In contrast, detailing visits by pharmaceutical sales representatives to physicians have a significant, positive effect on medication choice. Although spending on DTCA has recently increased dramatically, promotion to physicians through detailing and providing free samples still made up 84 percent of total promotional spending in 2000, indicating that pharmaceuticals view this as providing the highest return on investment.


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