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Prevention Magazine’s 13th Annual Consumer Survey

NEW YORK – (BUSINESS WIRE) – According to Prevention Magazine’s 13th annual national survey Consumer Reaction to DTC Advertising of Prescription Drugs, consumers are paying attention to the FDA regulated “fair balance” mandate between risk and benefit information on all DTC ads; the majority believe pharmaceutical advertising in magazines and television is presented “both fair and balanced.” Conducted by Prevention, Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines, published by Rodale Inc., with technical assistance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communication (FDA-DDMAC), the survey is one of the primary consumer studies informing the FDA’s stance on DTC issues.

For 5 consecutive years in a row, consumers reported consistent balance of awareness and attention paid to both risks and benefits in TV and magazine ads.

79% of consumers have “seen and heard” the TV DTC Ads Risk; 76% pay a lot/some attention and find the information very or somewhat useful. 73% of consumers have “seen and heard” TV DTC Ads Benefits; 63% pay a lot/some attention; 75% find the information very or somewhat useful. 48% of consumers have “seen and heard” Magazine DTC Ads Benefits; 66% pay a lot/some attention; 75% find the information very or somewhat useful. 52% of consumers have “seen and heard” Magazine DTC Ads Benefits; 63% pay a lot/some attention; 76% find the information very or somewhat useful. Consumers also reported that they feel online DTC ads need to work harder to improve consumer awareness of DTC Ads Risks.

Only 37% have “seen and heard” Online DTC Ads Risk; 69% pay a lot/some attention; 75% find the information very or somewhat useful. 54% have “seen and heard” Online DTC Ads Benefits; 57% pay a lot/some attention; 76% find the information very or somewhat useful. “Consumers are more responsive to the ‘fair balance’ in traditional media due to its familiarity and the recognizable formula,” says Cary Silvers, Director of Consumer Insights at Rodale. “In magazine and TV ads, risk has appeared in a very consistent manner, mainly the black and white page and the voice-over. New and evolving online formats have not delivered the same level of recognition thus far.”

60% of online consumers use social media when searching for health information: the Internet’s growing user-generated-content websites have proved to be a premium and trusted resource for online consumers with Wikipedia and online forums/message boards like lead the charge with a search following of 42%, both up 6 points vs. 2009; health-related blogs like followed at 30%, up an additional 3 points vs. 2009. These increased results confirm consumer’s trust in the personal health experiences of average individuals similar to themselves.

76% of online consumers want to obtain information from other people who share the same medical condition; 73% from doctors or other healthcare providers; 66% from friends and family. Advertising within the social media 

landscape has quickly become an accepted voice for pharmaceutical companies with 57% of consumers saying ads are acceptable on sites that cover health and medical issues.

62% of online consumers revealed they are not interested in hearing from pharmaceutical companies; 62% say insurance companies. Other key findings from the 13th annual national survey on Consumer Reaction to DTC Advertising of Prescription Drugs:

Consumers are online to seek out the very best healthcare information, with the majority finding the information both useful and trustworthy:

78% are seeking information about a specific medical condition; 63% about alternative treatments; 24% are seeking for rankings, reviews and/or prescription medicine; 66% say the information is useful; 58% say the information is trustworthy; DTC Ads/driving doctor discussions is unchanged in percentage, while patients requesting a drug is at an all-time low:

33% of consumers say as a result of seeing a DTC ad, they had a conversation with their doctor about the medicine being advertised. This has remained stable for 13 years! Among them: 19% say they asked for the doctor to prescribe the advertised medicine, down 9 points vs. 2009: the lowest number recorded in 13 years of tracking history. 79% say they just talked to the doctor about the medicine, up 9 points from last year: the highest number recorded in 13 years of tracking history. Said Mary Murcko, SVP/Publisher of Prevention, “As always, Prevention is at the forefront of talking to consumers about their personal health and wellness. In its 13th year, this survey continues to provide pharmaceutical advertisers with the most up-to-date research and information on the impact their advertising has with consumers.”

Generic prescription requests delivered impressive gains, with 61% of consumers requesting a generic or less expensive medicine. This spike in requests represents an all-time high for generic prescriptions, indicating that there is little-to-no brand loyalty.

More than 1 in 4 people (28%) say they have requested a specific brand of medicine. Nearly 3/4 (73%) of that segment say they have also requested a generic or less expensive medicine.


Prepared by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, March 2010. Telephone interviews were conducted with a nationally representative sample of 1,501 adults living in the continental United States from April 16-28, 2010. Statistical results are weighted to correct, known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ±3%.cialis rx

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