2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Ethical Issues of Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising
Elaine E. Wright
Dr. Karon Speckman, Faculty Mentor

The American public has seen a remarkable increase in direct-to-consumer advertisements (DTCA) for pharmaceuticals since the ban was lifted in 1997, and by 2000, DTCAs were the fourth largest category of advertisements in the U.S. market. Using the justification systems of Kant, Bentham, Machiavelli, and Hobbes, this research examines the ethical issues involved in DTCA and the harmful consequences rendered to consumers by an unequal financial distribution between promotional purposes and research and development, the lack of trust between physicians and patients, the exploitation of consumer vulnerability for the sake of profitability, and the failure of the FDA to approve each new drug before it is advertised. Despite a growing controversy, these results found that the practices of DTCA violate ethical theory.

Keywords: Communication, Ethics, Advertising, Pharmaceuticals, Marketing

Topic(s):Communication

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 39-3
Location: VH 1320
Time: 2:45

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