Vietnamese Consumer Behavior toward Children's Over-the-Counter Medications: A Reasoned Action Approach
Nguyen, Phuong, Journal of International Business Research
Consumer behavior is related to the consumer's acts of purchasing and using a product or service (Ajzen, 2008). Insights on how consumers buy and consume a product or service have important implications for any business firm. This issue is particularly critical in pharmaceutical marketing because, compared to fast-moving consumer goods, consumer behavior toward pharmaceutical products is far more complex. The complexity of consumer behavior toward pharmaceutical products can be attributed to the unique characteristics of consumer behavior within the domain of pharmaceutical marketing (Stremersch, 2008; Stremersch & Van Dyck, 2009).
In Vietnam, other reasons might explain or predict the consumer behavior in this rapidly growing business sector. Taking the case of anthelmintic pharmaceutical products, Vietnam is considered as one of the Southeast Asian countries where soil-transmitted helminth infection is a public health problem (Jex et al., 2011). It is estimated that 13.0 million preschool and school age children are at risk of infections with soil-transmitted helminths (Montresor et al., 2008). From a medical view, repetitive use of anthelmintic medications is a common way to get rid of helminths from human bodies. Using anthelmintic medications once or twice a year in populations at risk, such as school age children, is highly recommended and supported by health institutions (Crompton, Montresor, Nesheim, & Savioli, 2003; Montresor et al., 2008). In Vietnam, anthelmintic treatment involves self-medication, with 97% of anthelmintic medications classified as over-the-counter drugs are distributed directly from retail pharmacies without a doctor's prescription (IMS Health, 2011). This allows parents to control medical decisions related to their children's helminth infections, even though they consult with doctors to obtain medical information (Roter, 2000). From the business perspective, anthelmintic treatment among individual families, especially children who are most vulnerable to helminths, is the major contributor to anthelmintic pharmaceutical market and is of interest to pharmaceutical firms. However, the rate of anthelmintic treatment is not high in practice (Montresor et al., 2008). Hence, understanding the intention and behavior of mothers, who are important caregivers of children, to give anthelmintic medications to their children is crucial in understanding the consumer behavior and designing marketing strategies and tactics at pharmaceutical firms.
Given the above context, this study aimed to identify antecedents of repetitive use of anthelmintic medications and their relative importance in predicting the intention and behavior of mothers of school-age children. To do so, this study adopted the reason action model (Fishbein & Ajzen, 2010) to develop a causal model. The model was then tested using data collected from a convenient sample comprising 395 mothers living in urban and suburban areas of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The next sections present theoretical background, research model, hypotheses, followed by the description of research method and empirical results. The paper ends with discussions of theoretical implications, managerial implications, limitations, and directions for future research.
THEORETICAL BACKGROUND AND HYPOTHESES
As intention is a predictor of actual behaviors, most contemporary theories of human social behaviors utilize intention as an important construct to examine factors that lead to the formation of intention (Ajzen & Fishbein, 2005). Well-known value-expectancy models include the health belief model (Becker et al., 1977), theory of protection motivation (Rogers, 1983), theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), and theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991, 2012). The theory of reasoned action was first developed by Fishbein and Ajzen (1975). Later, Ajzen (1991) extended the model to develop the theory of planned behavior by adding the perceived behavioral control to the model to improve its applicability in partial volitional behaviors. …