Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Medicines in the United States and New Zealand: An Analysis of Regulatory Approaches and Consumer Responses

Author
John E. Calfee, Philip Gendall, Janet Hoek
Content Type
Working Paper
Institution
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Abstract
New Zealand and the United States are the only two advanced nations to permit direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription medicines, but they use very different regulatory regimes. This paper examines the evolution of DTCA in both countries, compares the New Zealand self-regulatory model with regulation by the US Food and Drug Administration, and examines consumer survey results from both nations. Surveys reveal striking consistencies in overall attitudes towards DTCA, albeit with strong differences on a few topics directly affected by differences in regulations, such as the balance of risk and benefit information. Consumers think DTCA helps them learn about new drugs and talk to their doctors about possible treatments, with little apparent negative impact on patient-doctor communications. Regulation in New Zealand is more efficient than American regulation, although more effective disclosure of risk information could address concerns raised by New Zealand consumer groups.
Topic
Government, Human Welfare
Political Geography
United States, Southeast Asia, New Zealand