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M-09: The Impact of Direct-to-Consumer Advertisements on Patient Decision-Making in an Urban Environment

Poster Presenter

      Noreen Hussain

      • Touro College of Pharmacy
        United States


As patients become more empowered in their healthcare decisions, it becomes all the more necessary to provide the most optimal guidance and treatment; the objective is to understand the perspective of patients regarding the impact of advertisements on healthcare decision making.



A demographical and a novel 18-item survey were distributed to adults over 18 years at several catchment sites in Harlem, an urban population in New York. To cater to the most predominant languages spoken, surveys were offered in Spanish or English. The study was conducted from February to May 2018.


Final results will be available onsite at the DIA Annual Global Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts in June 2018. The margin of error is defined as 5%, and the confidence interval is defined as 95%. Per the 2010 Census data, the estimated required sample size is 384 completed surveys. The novel 18-item survey utilizes a 5-point Likert scale. The demographics portion of the survey will be evaluated using multiple-choice questions and requires details such as age, gender, education level, self-identified race, income, and employment status. Analyses will target each item as well as their association with the demographic data. Initial hypotheses focus primarily on the perspective of patients. Because advertisements are so ingrained in society, it is thought that most people will not recognize advertisements throughout the day. Those that do will most likely trust and propagate the information presented to them as advertisements tend to carry a positive tone. As advertisements tend to highlight the benefits of medications rather than the side effects or information regarding the targeted disease state, most consumers will perceive their knowledge of the benefits to be greater. Most patients will take what is presented to them at face value and will not conduct further research using other media sources. However, they will most likely inquire further about the medication with a healthcare provider and will most likely ask for it by name. Because advertisements aim to evoke a positive reaction, most patients will generally perceive them as positive overall.


The United States and New Zealand are two of the only countries that permit pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly to the masses. In America, this right is protected by the First Amendment. Some proponents of direct to consumer advertisements (DTCA) believe that they can educate patients on novel drugs available in the market as well as give them the agency to make informed decisions about their health. On the other hand, some opponents of DTCAs argue that consumers lack the proficiency to assess the information presented to them and thus may be greatly misinformed. DTCAs can significantly influence consumer opinion both negatively and positively and ultimately impact the healthcare a patient may receive. Under the guidance of a knowledgeable healthcare provider medications can result in beneficial health outcomes, however, healthcare can still stand to be improved. The question then becomes as future healthcare providers how can we work with and utilize the preconceived notions that patients present with about drugs. Because DTCAs are so prominent in society, it is essential to evaluate how patients intake the information presented to them particularly in an urban population where healthcare and health education is not reaching its optimal potential.