Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacists Feeling Impact of Direct-to-Consumers Ads

Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacists Feeling Impact of Direct-to-Consumers Ads

Article excerpt

Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs-often referred to simply as DTCseems to be working from both a marketing and a patient care standpoint, and it's having a growing impact on pharmacy and the pharmacist's role. Although the United States is the only country that permits such advertising now, DTC's future here seems secure.

That's the assessment of two experts, one from the government and the other from the consumer media, speaking at a session of the American Pharmaceutical Association's annual meeting last month in San Antonio.

Ilisa B. G. Bernstein, Pharm.D., J.D., senior science policy analyst at the Food & Drug Administration, pointed to four reasons for the recent increase in DTC. The return on investment from such ads is "favorable." The consumer market is "ripe" for such advertising. DTC is a way of getting drugs on the formulary, with the support of doctors. The changing regulatory climate makes it easier for manufacturers to get an Rx message across to consumers.

Commenting on DTC's impact on pharmacy, Bernstein said that such ads serve to educate patients and may help patients be more compliant and, therefore, experience fewer adverse effects. They also might encourage more inquiries from consumers and prescribers and put the pharmacist in the position of becoming the information source for the Rx products mentioned in the ads, she added.

To prepare for the growing barrage of questions, R.Ph.s should educate themselves about the products and the DTC campaigns, Bernstein continued. …

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