To be precise, 53 percent say the advertising is mostly a good thing, and 67 percent agree that these ads educate people about treatments and encourage them to get help for conditions they might not have been aware of, according to a survey conducted by USA Today and public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. They polled 1,695 adults ages 18 and older this past January. (Look here).
On the negative side, the biggest complaint has to do with cost - more than three-quarters say the cost of the ads makes meds too expensive, and four in ten say this bothers them “a lot.” While 68 percent say there are too many prescription drug ads on television and 66 percent believe ads encourage people to take meds they don’t need, fewer say they are bothered “a lot” by either of these issues - 27 percent and 34 percent, respectively. By the way, 46 percent think many ads are too sexually explicit, but only 20 percent say they are bothered a lot.
Not surprisingly 91 percent of Americans have seen or heard prescription drug ads, and 32 percent have talked to a doc about a prescription drug they saw advertised. Among those who have talked to a doc about a drug they saw advertised, 44 percent say their doctor gave them a prescription for the drug they asked about, and 54 percent say their doc recommended another med, resulting in 82 percent who got a scrip either for the drug they mentioned or another drug.
In general, people’s views of prescription drug ads are mainly positive - 56 percent say drug ads do an excellent or good job telling people about the potential benefits of a medication, and 54 percent say ads do an excellent or good job of conveying info about the condition a drug is designed to treat. But 53 percent say ads do only a fair or poor job of telling people about potential side effects.