DTC ads spur patient action, ongoing survey says

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More people today are making appointments to see their doctor due to healthcare advertising than three years ago, data from an ongoing study show.
The number of adults scheduling physician visits based on healthcare ads has risen nearly 17 percent -- from 36 percent in 2002 to 42 percent in 2005 -- according to the fifth annual edition of the MARS (multimedia audience research systems) study. About 21,000 adults responded.
The leading medium for prompting those appointments has been radio, which performs 30 percent above average in getting people to take action, followed by magazines at 21 percent and Internet at 15 percent. Television performs slightly below average.
In addition to reinforcing the link between ads and health-related consumer action, data show that diagnoses of conditions such as depression and hypertension/high blood pressure have grown over the past three years, by 20 percent or more. MARS is a unit of WPP Group's Kantar Media Research unit. The study is sponsored by and developed in partnership with pharmaceutical
firms and their agencies.
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