Info overloaded, consumers tune out risk info, says survey

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Consumers tend to block out risk info in TV and print ads for prescription drugs – particularly those over age 55 – according to a study by ORC Guideline.

The research firm found that 41% of US consumers pay little or no attention to risk info presented by pharma companies in their TV commercials, and half did the same for disclosures in print ads. Respondents over the age of 55 were particularly likely to tune out risk info.

ORC Guideline's chief research officer, Morris Whitcup, said risk info overload is probably to blame. “As consumers utilize a wide variety of sources to learn about prescription medications, it may not be optimal for the FDA to require that pharmaceutical companies include the same details in each of the channels they use to communicate information about their prescription drug products,” said Whitcup.

Asked how they'd prefer to see risk information presented online, 32% said through direct links to an independent website such as WebMD, 27% opted for “a condensed version of risk disclosures a click away,” 26% a direct link to a company site and 25% a link to a government site.

The online survey of 1,045 US adults was conducted October 29-30.

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