Voluminous press coverage over cholesterol drug safety has led to a study measuring consumer perception. “Impact of Publicity on Consumer Perceptions and Actions in the Cholesterol Medication Category,” by Phoenix Marketing International, surveyed 601 high cholesterol sufferers; 75% taking meds.
The study found that heightened publicity awareness led to “triple the number of consumers…asking to switch medications if they are aware of the publicity,” according to an executive summary. “The most remembered topics [among participants] questioned the benefits of lowering cholesterol as well as the efficacy of available medications in general,” said Beth Allen, EVP, marketing sciences at Phoenix. “The one topic that caused the most people to want to stop their medications or switch was about executives keeping bad news hidden. These findings suggest that people who need to medically control their cholesterol may be losing their trust in the pharmaceutical industry, their medications and need to treat this life-threatening disease.”
Reports on Vytorin, Zetia and the ENHANCE trials were followed by criticism about Pfizer's marketing of Lipitor.