Research of the effects of direct-to-consumer drug advertising on patient-provider relationships

The Foundation's program, Strengthening the Patient-Provider Relationship in a Changing Health Care Environment, was designed to support research and convening activities that examine the patient-provider relationship under the growing influence of managed care.The increase in direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of drugs has raised several concerns: (1) U.S. spending on prescription drugs, already highest in the world per person, would accelerate, perhaps in inappropriate ways, and would put further pressure on heath insurance premiums and the parties; (2) DTCA could provide incomplete or inaccurate information, leading patients to demand or obtain unsuitable drugs; and (3) patient-caregiver relationships might be damaged by DTCA if physicians and other care givers resist prescribing medications that patients demand. The purpose of this project is to examine the topography of DTCA of drugs. How has it grown? Will this continue? How effective is drug advertising. What is advertised now and what may be advertised in the future. The study will identify the full spectrum of possible private and public actions toward DTCA that might improve patient care relationships and will assess the likely efficacy, cost, administrative feasibility, and political feasibility of such actions. Data will be collected through literature reviews and two waves of interviews to compare the content of advertisements directed at patients with those directed at physicians.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $89,539.00

Awarded on: 12/14/1999

Time frame: 1/1/2000 - 6/30/2001

Grant Number: 38186


Boston University School of Public Health

Talbot Building
715 Albany Street
Boston, 02118-2526


Alan Sager
Project Director