Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

The Impact of DTCA on the Physician-Patient Relationship: An Empirical Investigation in Jordan

Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

The Impact of DTCA on the Physician-Patient Relationship: An Empirical Investigation in Jordan

Article excerpt


Purpose - The purpose of this research is to investigate the feasibility of adoption of direct to consumer advertising (DTCA) in the Jordanian market and examine the impact of potential DTCA on the physician-patient relationship, especially, satisfaction, trust and commitment within the Jordanian health market.

Design/Methodology/Approach - A purposive sampling technique was employed to recruit 50 physicians representing the desired range of demographic characteristics (e.g. age, educational level, type of medical specialty, and experience in health services sector).

Findings - This research showed that if the Jordanian health market adopts DTCA techniques it will result in a negative effect on the Jordanian physician-patient relationships.

Originality/value - The research uniquely examines concept of DTCA and proposes how they might be applied to health and pharmaceutical industry in Jordan. It proposes new areas for research relating to the definition of DTCA in the health industry, the paper also makes key recommendations towards the new concept of DTCA.

Keywords: DTCA, Physician-patient relationship, Satisfaction, Trust, Commitment, Jordan

1. Introduction

The pharmaceutical industry has been slow in adopting Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA) techniques. The only two developed countries where DTCA is currently legal are the U.S. and New Zealand (Mintzes et al, 2002). While banned elsewhere, the drug industry is mounting major lobbying campaigns to have DTCA allowed in Europe and other countries around the world (Mintzes et al, 2002).

DTCA refers to advertisements that are directed to patients, the final consumers of the pharmaceutical product. In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits three different types of DTCA (Chen and Carroll, 2007). First, product-claim advertisements, which mention the name of the drug, outline its use, and describe the risks and benefits, in addition to discussing the medical condition it treats; help-seeking advertisements, which discuss the medical condition but do not mention a specific drug product; and reminder advertisements, which provide the name of the drug but do not discuss its uses, risks, or benefits, nor the medical condition it treats.

DTCA can empower patients, who, in the past, have received prescriptions from physicians with little knowledge of prescription drug choices. DTCA has thus changed the pharmaceutical landscape such that doctors no longer are perceived as omnipotent (Deshpande et al, 2004) and prescription drugs advertised directly to consumers have become the largest and fastest selling medicines (Herzenstein et al, 2004). The World Health Organization (WHO) defines drug promotion as: "all informational and persuasive activities by manufacturers and distributors, the effect of which is to induce the prescription, supply, purchase and/or use of medicinal drugs".

The relationship between DTCA and physician-patient relationship has emerged as an area of significant and strategic concern for physicians, patients, and pharmaceuticals companies. Many empirical studies (Viale and Yamamoto, 2004; Kravitz, 2005; Joseph et al, 2008; Kalyanaram, 2009) found that there is a positive and significant relationship between DTCA and physician-patient relationships. On the other hand, some studies found that there is a negative and significant relationship between DTCA and physician-patient relationships (Committee on Drugs, 1991; American Medical Association, 1993; Bell et al, 1999; Woloshin et al, 2001; Calfee, 2002; Lexchin and Mintzes, 2002; Murry et al, 2003; Jeffords, 2004; Aikin et al, 2004; Robinson et al, 2004; Kleinke, 2004; Kaphingst, 2005; American College of Physicians, 2005; Brockenbrough, 2007; Spake and Joseph, 2007; Mathew et al, 2008). DTCA advertising is just one strand in the marketing and PR efforts of drug companies to promote brand-name prescription drugs.

This research aims at contribute to the study of pharmaceutical and health services promotion by examining the relationship between DTCA and the physician-patient relationship in the business environment of a developing country. …

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