The unintended consequences of argument dilution in direct-to-consumer drug advertisments

Sivanathan, N and Hakkar, K (2017) The unintended consequences of argument dilution in direct-to-consumer drug advertisments. Nature Human Behaviour, 1 (11). pp. 797-802. ISSN 2397-3374 OPEN ACCESS

Abstract

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of pharmaceutical drugs is often cited as the culprit for inflated patient demand for advertised drugs. Further to this economic concern, we provide an evidence-based psychological account of another concern that warrants the re-examination of the merits of DTC advertising of prescription drugs. Across six experiments and a sample of 3,059 US participants, we find reliable evidence for the argument dilution effect. Specifically, when commercials list severe side effects along with those that are most frequent (which include both serious and minor side effects), as required by the Food and Drug Administration, it dilutes consumers’ judgements of the overall severity of the side effects, compared with when only the serious side effects are listed. Furthermore, consumers’ reduced judgement of severity leads to greater attraction to those drugs. In regulating pharmaceutical advertisements, the Food and Drug Administration appear to have paradoxically dampened consumers’ judgements of overall severity and risk, and increased the marketability of these drugs.

More Details

Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Additional Information: © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
Subjects: C > Consumer advertising
P > Pharmaceutical industry
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2017 18:59
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2018 06:44
URI: http://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/889
More

Export and Share


Download

Accepted Version - Text

Statistics

Altmetrics

Downloads from LBS Research Online

View details

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item