The Association of Magazine Media

About Prescription Drug Advertising

Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising for prescription drugs has been providing important information to patients about disease symptoms and treatment options since the early 1980’s. In recent years, expenditures on prescription drugs have been rising faster than the rate of inflation. Along with the increased expenditures has come a heightened concern that advertising pharmaceuticals directly to consumers may inappropriately increase patient demand for more expensive, brand name drugs.

Studies have shown that DTC advertising enhances communications between physicians and patients, raises public awareness about undiagnosed diseases, and informs patients about the benefits and risks of using prescription drugs to treat medical conditions.

Print DTC advertisements are especially useful to consumers as they contain extensive information about the risks, side effects, and other aspects of taking a particular medication. Moreover, print advertisements are permanent and consumers can read and refer back to advertisements as a resource. Many patients have been known to tear out a magazine advertisement and take it with them to the physician in order to facilitate a well-informed discussion.

MPA believes that empowering patients with information through DTC advertising plays a crucial role in today’s healthcare system. MPA has been actively engaged on this issue and will continue to educate the Members of Congress and regulatory agencies to ensure that DTC advertisements are understood and not over-regulated, which would diminish their value.