Heart Attack Drug Advertising Survey

morefocus recently asked about people’s feelings towards prescription drugs and advertising. About 700 responded to questions regarding how the pervasive nature of these ads has affected the degree to which they feel informed as well as their feelings towards pharmaceutical companies. Not only did 82 percent of people think that T.V. has too many prescription drug ads, but 60 percent of them strongly agreed that this advertising has become excessive.

Although 51 percent of people tended to agree that knowing the names of specific brands helps them talk to their doctors, ironically 61 percent said they were not more apt to ask their doctor about a drug after seeing an advertisement for it. This contradiction is reconciled by the fact that most people, 62 percent, trust their doctors are well informed about new drugs on the market.

Although respondents generally agreed that there are too many prescription drug ads, 89 percent also agreed that including the side effect information within these ads is important. However, in an interesting contradiction, the overwhelming demand for side effect information met a lukewarm reception: 49 percent of people admitted that they rarely or never read this information.

While the above discrepancy could be attributed to people’s tendency to skip over any kind of advertisement, it does reflect respondents’ sentiments towards pharmaceutical companies specifically: 59 percent of respondents indicated that their trust in pharmaceutical companies has decreased over the past year. Thirty eight percent said their feelings haven’t changed and only three percent had more trust for drug companies. Consequently, the pervasive nature of these ads seems to be counterproductive. People’s general distrust of pharmaceutical companies overshadows the informative function of prescription drug ads.

This survey on prescription drug advertising found that people not only tend to trust their personal physicians’ recommendations over the media but also that the pervasiveness of drug ads has tarnished people’s images of pharmaceutical companies.

Prescription Drugs and Advertising Survey
Question/Answer Responses Percentage
There are too many commercials for prescription drugs on television. 547
Strongly Agree 328 59.96%
Agree 122 22.30%
Neither Agree nor Disagree 64 11.70%
Disagree 25 4.57%
Strongly Disagree 7 1.28%
There are too many advertisements for prescription drugs in magazines. 544
Strongly Agree 270 49.63%
Agree 144 26.47%
Neither Agree nor Disagree 81 14.89%
Disagree 40 7.35%
Strongly Disagree 8 1.47%
Including information on a drug’s side effects in commercials and advertisements is important. 536
Strongly Agree 312 58.21%
Agree 167 31.16%
Neither Agree nor Disagree 29 5.41%
Disagree 16 2.99%
Strongly Disagree 11 2.05%
Doctors should follow patients’ requests in prescribing specific drugs. 537
Strongly Agree 31 5.77%
Agree 79 14.71%
Neither Agree nor Disagree 135 25.14%
Disagree 195 36.31%
Strongly Disagree 96 17.88%
Knowing the names of specific brands of drugs helps me talk with my doctor. 535
Strongly Agree 70 13.08%
Agree 205 38.32%
Neither Agree nor Disagree 138 25.79%
Disagree 81 15.14%
Strongly Disagree 40 7.48%
The government should research the safety of new drugs more carefully than they currently do. 529
Strongly Agree 226 42.72%
Agree 157 29.68%
Neither Agree nor Disagree 94 17.77%
Disagree 43 8.13%
Strongly Disagree 8 1.51%
My doctor stays up to date with new drugs on the market. 528
Strongly Agree 101 19.13%
Agree 216 40.91%
Neither Agree nor Disagree 170 32.20%
Disagree 30 5.68%
Strongly Disagree 10 1.89%
When reading a drug advertisement in a magazine or newspaper, do you read the fine print about the drug’s side effects, or not? 529
Always 153 28.92%
Usually 122 23.06%
Sometimes 121 22.87%
Rarely 77 14.56%
Never 56 10.59%
After seeing an advertisement or commercial for a prescription drug, have you ever asked your Doctor about the advertised drug? 522
Yes 178 34.10%
No 320 61.30%
Not Sure 24 4.60%
In your experience, do brand name drugs work better than generic drugs? 526
Yes 93 17.68%
No 298 56.65%
Not sure 135 25.67%
How has your trust in pharmaceutical companies changed over the last year? 526
Trust more 18 3.42%
No change 197 37.45%
Trust less 311 59.13%
What is your gender? 516
Male 208 40.31%
Female 308 59.69%
What is your age range? 522
17 or under 2 0.38%
18-25 years 18 3.45%
26-41 years 102 19.54%
42-59 years 245 46.93%
60 or over 155 29.69%
How many specific brands of prescription drugs do you usually take in a week? 519
None 143 27.55%
1 87 16.76%
2 88 16.96%
3 57 10.98%
4 51 9.83%
5 36 6.94%
6 57 10.98%
Where do you live? 520
United States 516 99.23%
Canada 2 0.38%
Europe 1 0.19%
Australia/New Zealand 1 0.19%
Asia 0 0.00%
Central/South America 0 0.00%
Africa 0 0.00%
Other 0 0.00%