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Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) for prescription drugs: Consumers' attitudes and preferences concerning its regulation in South Korea

By Hae Sun Suh, Donghyun Lee, Sang Yong Kim, Dong Hyun Chee and Hye-Young Kang


Objective To examine consumers' attitudes toward direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) for prescription drugs in Korea.Methods We conducted a survey of 350 patients visiting community pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. Consumers' attitudes toward DTCA were assessed in terms of whether they felt DTCA was necessary, their trust in the information provided by DTCA, and their intention to use the information provided by DTCA. We examined consumers' preferences regarding the regulation of DTCA and their expectations of the effects of DTCA.Results About 60% of the respondents responded that DTCA is necessary and that they intended to use the information from DTCA. Less than half of the respondents reported that they would trust DTCA information. About 70% of the participants expressed the need for prior vetting of the DTCA content. Respondents had the highest expectation on the effect of DTCA as an information source for patients. Positive consumer expectations regarding the effects of DTCA were significantly associated with positive consumer attitudes toward DTCA (odds ratio = 4.70, 95% confidence interval: 2.25-9.82).Conclusions This study provides evidence that consumers in South Korea generally have positive attitudes toward DTCA. However, most of the respondents wanted a prior examination system of DTCA content to ensure that the information conveyed to them via DTCA was trustworthy. Policy-makers should be cautious and well-prepared if they decide to introduce DTCA in Korea.Advertisement Consumer health information Government regulation Marketing Prescription drugs

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