Drug ads still effective though the public distrusts Big Pharma

Nowadays, prescription drug commercials are at an all-time high — and Big Pharma’s reputation is at an all-time low.

Mark Dolliver wrote an article this week for AdWeek highlighting recent studies showing the American public’s mounting distrust of the pharmaceutical industry. According to Mark:

Polling conducted by Harris Interactive for the Pharmaceutical Safety Institute documents the degree to which people don’t trust the industry to disclose bad news about its wares. Asked how confident they are that drugmakers “will eventually disseminate all information—positive or negative—that they have regarding the safety of their drugs,” few said “extremely” (4 percent) or “very” (10 percent). Thirty percent said they’re “fairly” confident, with another 27 percent “somewhat” so. But even such lukewarm trust was more than could be mustered by the 29 percent who declared themselves “not at all” confident of such disclosures. The numbers were nearly identical when people were asked how confident they are that companies will release news of adverse reactions to any of their drugs “as soon as they have such information.”

What is interesting is that even though the American public distrusts Big Pharma, they still make purchasing decisions based on DTC advertising. According to the article,

Fifty-one percent said the ads “encourage me to ask additional questions when I visit my physician.” (Thirteen percent disagreed, 30 percent neither agreed nor disagreed and the rest said the query didn’t apply to them.) Similarly, 44 percent said the ads “make me more knowledgeable about treatments that I previously did not know about.”

That’s an odd disconnect. You would think public distrust would hurt Big Pharma’s brands — undermining the effectiveness of its advertising.

Guess we’re not there yet.

Comments (1)

There is no correlation between persuasiveness and quality.

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