Publication Details

Hall, D. V., Jones, S. C. & Hoek, J. (2010). Direct to consumer advertising versus disease awareness advertising: Consumer perspectives from down under. Journal of Public Affairs, 11 (1), 60-69.


At present, only the United States and New Zealand allow direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription medicine. In other countries where DTCA is not allowed, including Australia and the United Kingdom, pharmaceutical companies undertake disease awareness advertising (DAA). In DAA, advertisements do not name a drug directly, but provide general information about diseases and treatments, and encourage consumers to talk to their doctor. Similar debate surrounds these two forms of advertising, yet while past research has explored consumers' attitudes and behaviour in response to DTCA, little consideration has been given to DAA. This paper compares Australian consumers' perceptions of DAA with New Zealand consumers' perceptions of DTCA. Despite differences in the type and extent of advertising, respondents perceived similar benefits including heightened awareness of treatment options and improved discussions with doctors. New Zealand respondents associated many negative outcomes with DTCA including unbalanced information, inappropriate requests to doctors and consumer confusion.



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