Direct to consumer ads for prescription drugs: Attitudes and responses of a managed care population with diabetes
Pinckney, Antonia M.
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A random sample of 50 diabetes patients from a managed care company was surveyed over the telephone to determine their attitudes and responses to direct to consumer advertisements for prescription drugs (DTCA). Most of the sample were of minority race/ethnicity, older age, lower income, had lower education, and took at least five prescription medications daily. A nine- item questionnaire with a five point Likert scale was used to determine an attitude score. Overall attitudes about DTCA were negative. Respondents were asked if they had ever reacted to an ad with any of three behavioral responses (asking for information about a drug, requesting a prescription for the drug they saw advertised, requesting a change in a current prescription due to an ad). Respondents stated they asked their provider for further information about a drug due to an ad at a higher rate (40 percent) than they asked that the advertised drug be prescribed (16 percent). Respondents who asked for change in a current prescription due to an ad they saw made the request due to side effect information in the ad. Attitudes about DTCA were negatively correlated with these behaviors. The findings show this population's skepticism about ad information, their comfort discussing it with their providers, and their need for further information on risk assessment. The cost of non- formulary, non-generic medications makes patients cautious about asking for a specific advertised prescription. Providers need to be sensitive to patients concerns about DTCA information and be available to discuss risks and benefits.