While direct-to-consumer ads get attention and affect behavior, they are increasingly a first step in relationship marketing, according to advertising experts. Meanwhile, drugmakers and the FDA have promoted greater compliance with marketing standards, said Tom Abrams, the head of the FDA's drug promotion office. While a recent study questioned PhRMA's Guiding Principles for DTC Advertising, it also found that ads largely met standards in areas including accuracy and the disclosure of risks.

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