DTCA and physician-patient interactions: The role of need-for-cognition and involvement.


  • Ignatius Fosu University of Arkansas




Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs leads to an increase in physician visits and initiated conversations about advertised drugs, with some patients asking doctors to prescribe the advertised drugs. However, it is largely unknown what types of patients engage in such behavior. To help address this issue, this study examined the role of involvement and need for cognition in talking to doctors and asking them to prescribe drugs in DTCA. Need-for-cognition and involvement were assessed with standardized scales and their impact on these behaviors as well as general responses to DTCA was assessed. Using FDA guidelines, print ads for three fictitious drugs were designed with the help of a professional graphic designer. Measures taken include attitude toward the ad, brand interest, purchase intention, and participants' behavior in relation to DTCA. Findings suggest that high involvement individuals were more likely to talk to doctors and ask them to prescribe DTCA drugs. An interaction effect of need-for-cognition and involvement impacted attitude toward the ad and purchase intention. Also, brand interest influenced both talking to doctors and asking doctors to prescribe. Patients who talk to doctors about DTCA drugs were more likely to ask them to prescribe the drugs. Based on the findings, recommendations were made for DTC advertisers. The findings from this study provide a basis for further exploring DTCA induced behavior.


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