A content analysis of pharmaceutical product ads targeted toward pediatricians in the professional media was conducted to determine the extent to which they were informative as well as the quantity and types of information presented. The content analysis model selected was based on previously published and widely implemented standards that have been documented to support research propositions. The study analyzed 67 separate products ads that were published in pediatrician-targeted journals during the first half of 2002. The results indicate that each pharmaceutical product ad contains an abundance of information (average = 5.1 cues) that may help in educating and Morming the physician. Ads in support of newly launched products contained a higher number of information cues per ad (6. 1). Distinct patterns of information content within the ads emerged. Most notable was that 53% of prescription drug ads were perceived to be overly weighted with benefit information, in apparent defiance of FDA regulations. In addition, while over 95% of prescription and OTC ads illustrated product benefits and characteristics, only 71% identified the disease or condition for which the product is indicated. Ads were typically found not to contain much information on dosing or treatment directives. Surprisingly, only 35% of ads contained any scientific information in support of the product, whereas 52% contained emotional cues. These data suggest that the approach used by pharmaceutical companies to communicate with physicians is not sufficiently rational. It appears that the advertising agencies may be having a more profound influence on advertising copy than is expected considering the professional status of the targeted audience.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Pharmaceutical industry; Drugs--Marketing; Advertising--Drugs
Business Administration–Traditional (MBA)
Department, Program, or Center
Tebbey, Paul, "Patterns of phamaceutical advertising to physicians: An Exploratory content analysis of printed pharmaceutical ads targeted to pediatricians" (2002). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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