This AARP Bulletin telephone survey, which was conducted to gauge the prevalence of consumer exposure to prescription drug advertising, found that most Americans age 18 and older (90%) have seen or heard one or more prescription drug advertisements; and most often, it was on the television (78%). One in five have seen or heard prescription drug advertisements on the Internet (19%), and approximately one in seven have seen or heard advertisements in newspapers (16%), pharmacies (14%) and on the radio (14%).
Other key findings include:
- While 1 in 10 of the respondents (10%) who have seen or heard a prescription drug advertisement have asked their doctor for the advertised drug, about two-thirds (68%) of those who have ever asked their physician either received a prescription (41%) for the advertised drug or received a free sample (27%).
- Most of the respondents (71%) read the safety and side effect information that by law accompanies prescription drugs, but over a quarter find the information frightening (15%) or confusing (13%).
This survey was conducted by telephone by SSRS, an independent research company. A national sample of 1,019 Americans age 18 and older completed interviews from September 22-September 26, 2010 . For more information, please contact the author, Helen W. Brown, at 202-434-6172.