Direct to Consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising recall: The role of involvement


  • Ignatius Fosu University of Arkansas



The effect of different amounts of risk information in DTC ads on recall was examined in an experiment. Three versions of DTC ads, containing different amounts of risk information were developed based on FDA guidelines and shown to participants in a 3 x 3 between group design. Participants’ unaided recall of ad information suggest a main effect of ad version on recall, with the ads that have moderate amount of risk information eliciting the most recall of risk information. The moderating role of involvement was inconclusive. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) eased restrictions on Direct to Consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs in the 1980s, the debate regarding appropriate risk disclosures that would enable consumers make accurate assessment of drugs continues. At the core is what risk disclosure formats lead to adequate recall of risk information. This paper explores the role of involvement in recall of risk disclosures in print ads containing varying amounts of risk information. This exploratory study uses experimental methodology and helps provide preliminary insights into this important issue. Findings from this study could serve as a basis for developing larger studies to examine this issue in more depth to reach actionable conclusions that would inform policy recommendations on what level of risk disclosure should be encouraged to achieve the desired levels of risk information recall.


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