Consumer vs. Physicians Attitudes Toward Health Products Advertising

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Consumer vs. Physicians attitudes toward health products advertising

Nowadays many advertisements of health products are placed on many satellite channels. These health products include medications. Accordingly, consumers may perceive these ads in a way that differs from physicians and each would have different attitudes. Previous studies have shown that physicians generally would be opposed to health care advertising for a number of reasons. For example, doctors might feel that medical professionals should eschew advertising because: "the public must be protected against fraudulent and unscrupulous promoters;" "advertising would lower the prestige of professionals in the public's eye;" and "it is an expense which would not necessarily lower fees, and would convey false information about the quality of service". On the other hand, consumers might favor health care advertising because: advertising could "assist the consumer in making more intelligent choices of professional service"; or "it could promote more competition, and thereby more efficiency, lower fees and better service". In this research, the researchers are trying to explore the possible differences in attitudes between professionals (medical doctors) and consumers—the potential recipients of these services and the target of such advertising ― toward the marketing and advertising of health products. Using surveying as a methodology, the researchers distributed questionnaires among physicians and consumers to discover and compare the difference between their attitudes, and to examine whether males of females have the tendency to try health products seen on TV.

Literature Review

With the massive growth in the number of both television and radio stations, consumers became increasingly exposed to advertising and to product availability (Petrovici and Paliwoda, 2007). According to Carter L. Marshall (1977), television has a negative impact on people in its giving wrong information about health products in order to convince people to buy these medicines. He said people in the US watch TV for 15 hour per week (Marshall, 1977). This excessive access to TV programs and ads allows an influence by the cultivation theory which states that as many times the message is being repeated, the more people will believe it is true. For instance, if an ad says "All People buy Tide” and this is said several times, people will eventually trust this as a fact and will automatically go and buy tide. Marshall mentions that Mars candy sponsored an ad which declares that tooth decay is due to plague and that the toothpaste and dental floss are the solution and never mentioned that too much candy causes cavities (Marshall, 1977). This how the advertisers hide the truth and state wrong facts to get their products sold even if the customer will be harmed. Moreover, the author recommends four approaches for health advocates to impact TV commercials:

1- Advertise for products which are beneficial to people’s health. 2- Provide schools with the study of commercials and health awareness programs. 3- Make an office for combining health awareness into TV programs. 4- Consumer movement should include health education (Marshall, 1977).

According to Statman (1981), the Food and Drug Administration FDA makes sure that any medicine or drug with the same quality should have the same generic brand name on it. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gives the explanation of the continuous domination of original products in the market by stating the main problem is that the consumer paying lacks the choice of the product and the physician who chooses the medicine lacks the paying its price (Statman, 1981). Statman added that obstacles which the entrant encounters after his copyright expiration is due to anti-substitution laws that forbid a pharmacist of filling up a prescription with another brand than the one which was approved...
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