Advertising has changed throughout all across the healthcare market. Originally, advertising was through word of mouth and later, through magazines and newspapers. That was until television was invented and the game of advertising was changed for the future. New laws and regulations were put in place but the biggest change of all was direct to consumer advertising. There were no real laws in place until an advertisement for prescription drugs in 1989 aired on television. This pushed the Federal Drug and Food Administration to act fast about what regulations needed to be put in place to make sure consumers were well informed for what the benefits and risks of the drug that the commercial was portraying. Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars advertising by using the direct to consumer method.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, authority over drug advertising had remained with the U.S. Federal Trade commission until 1962, when John F. Kennedy put in act the Kefauver Harris Drug Amendments. These amendments stated that manufacturers had to prove the effectiveness of drug products before they went on market shelves, and after they have been put out into the market, they must also report any serious side effects. Another amendment stated that the control over drug advertising will be transferred from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over to the Food and Drug Administration. A third amendment stated that the FDA controlled the marketing of generic drugs to keep them from being sold as expensive medications under new trade names. The last amendment required that drug companies produce adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that have been conducted by qualified experts, and all study subjects will be required to give their informed consent.
Rules and regulations for direct to consumer advertising have been removed from the U.S. Federal trade commission to the Food and Drug Administration. This transferred the responsibility of direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs from the Federal Trade Commission to the Food and Drug Administration. This act left the responsibility of over-the-counter drugs to the Federal Trade Commission.
According to Dominick Frosch, e.t. al, before the 1980's, prescription drugs were still not directly advertised to consumers, but instead physicians received promotional material from drug manufacturers, to advertise to their patients. This strategy was known as the push marketing strategy. This method involved pharmaceutical companies giving physicians pamphlets, and promotional material. While a patient that receives care from the physician, and has certain symptoms that fit the drugs criteria, the physician then suggests the drug, and this is what is known as the push marketing strategy. From as early as the 1970's to the early 1990's the pharmaceutical industry primarily communicated to consumers by nonbranded service announcements. This lasted until August of 1997, when the Food and Drug Administration started to ease the restrictions placed on direct to consumer advertising.
In August of 1997, the Food and Drug Administration created a guide title “Guided for Industry: Consumer-Directed Broadcast Advertisements,” which stated the expectations for prescription drug advertising without actually changing any of their actual regulations. A main point in this guide stated that any advertisement through broadcast media such as television, radio, or telephone, must state the product's major risk's in the advertisement. After this guide was released, direct to consumer advertising accelerated in its business, reaching $4 billion dollars by 2003. The late 1990's brought upon increased spending in direct to consumer advertising. During this time, television commercials shaped the way the public viewed direct to consumer advertising, and it also increased the public's awareness of prescription drugs.
Not only did direct to consumer advertising increase the public's awareness of prescription drugs that were advertised on television, it also made the public more likely to listen to prescription drug commercials, if the drug was able to cure one of the symptoms that that have. This was a marketing strategy know as subjective utility. Subjective utility is when a person who hears the commercial can compare it to themselves and make a personal connection with the commercial. This prompted the public to discuss the commercial they saw with their physicians about the prescription drug to see if it would alleviate any of their symptoms. This is why this marketing strategy is known as subjective utility.
Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars by using the direct to consumer advertising method. This method did not take place until a company used this method for the first-time, advertising prescription drugs on television. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration acted fast to put rules and regulations, so the consumer is able to understand what the commercial is informing what he or she needs to know about the product. This led to all pharmaceutical companies using this method and also using subjective utility method, where companies try and use their commercials and relate to their consumers. In return, direct to consumer advertising has made billions of dollars off of prescription drugs commercials, and has been progressively changing since the 1980's.
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