Vioxx Did Not Change Attitudes to DTC Advertising
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Vioxx Did Not Change Attitudes to DTC Advertising

Last year’s withdrawal of Vioxx and the more recent recall of Bextra have had little impact on consumer response to direct–to-consumer advertising, according to the latest findings from Ipsos PharmTrends.

Paul Holmes

Last year’s withdrawal of Vioxx and the more recent recall of Bextra  have had little impact on consumer response to direct–to-consumer advertising, according to the latest findings from Ipsos PharmTrends, a syndicated tracking study of consumer behavior.

The newest installment of the survey—based on February 2005 results—showed that 18 percent of consumers had taken action following exposure to a prescription drug ad, and 11 percent requested a specific medication. The results show only minimal erosion from pre-Vioxx recall levels, when 19 percent of consumers took action following exposure to a prescription drug ad, and 12 percent requested a specific medication.

“Despite the latest recalls, prescription drug advertising continues to be an accepted and effective channel for communicating the availability of prescription drug solutions,” says Barbara Bertner, vice president of Ipsos-Insight’s PharmTrends. “Americans, despite finding prescription drug advertising annoying, believe that manufacturers should be able to advertise and that advertising provides a good source of information for alternative therapies.

“Manufacturers are taking notice with a distinct change in creative style that is more serious in tone and presents the information in a more straightforward manner.”

Certain categories experience higher advertisement recall among purchasers than others, and the top-ranking categories have not changed since the previous wave of PharmTrends research. The allergy category continues to be the leader with 61 percent of buyers recalling an ad for the brand they purchased

Viagra tops the list when it comes to recall, with nearly all its purchasers (89 percent) recalling an ad for the erectile dysfunction drug in the year ending December 2004. Drugs entering the top ten ranking for the first time include Strattera (84 percent of purchasers ad aware), Detrol LA (82 percent of purchasers ad aware), and Aricept (80 percent of purchasers ad aware). Aricept exhibits the most significant movement upward, ranking eighth, up from thirty-sixth position one year ago.

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