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Health Promot Perspect. 2017;7(1): 28-33.
doi: 10.15171/hpp.2017.06
PMID: 28058239
PMCID: PMC5209647
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Original Article

Characteristics of medication advertisements found in US women’s fashion magazines

Jennifer Mongiovi 1*, Grace Clarke Hillyer 1, Corey H. Basch 2, Danna Ethan 3, Rodney Hammond 4

1 Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
2 Department of Public Health, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ, USA
3 Department of Health Sciences, Lehman College, The City University of New York, New York, NY, USA
4 Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ, USA

Abstract

Background: Although prescriptions are dispensed at discretion of medical professionals, many pharmaceutical companies use direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising to increase sales. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications are similarly marketed.

Methods: We examined the content of advertisements in 38 issues of 9 popular US women’s fashion magazines. We evaluated target audience, health condition, product availability, message appeal, target to females, and mention of potential side effects and benefits.

Results: Sixty total medication advertisements were identified, 58.3% (95% CI: 45.8, 70.8) for prescription products. In magazines targeted to non-Hispanic Whites, >65% of advertisements were for OTC medications whereas 80% (95% CI: 66.7, 94.5) of advertisements found in Black/Latina magazines were for prescription medications. The rational appeal was used most commonly in non-Hispanic White magazines (75.9%; 95% CI: 60.3, 91.5). Emotional appeal was featured more often in prescription advertisements magazines (60.0; 95% CI:43.8, 76.2) compared to OTC (8.0; 95% CI: -2.6, 18.6).

Conclusion: Although emotional appeal may be effective for selling medication to women, it often does not completely inform consumers of potential risks.

Keywords: Advertisements, Direct-to-consumer advertising, Health communication, Magazines, Over-the-counter drugs, Women’s health
Citation: Mongiovi J, Hillyer GC, Basch CH, Ethan D, Hammond R. Characteristics of medication advertisements found in US women’s fashion magazines. Health Promot Perspect. 2017;7(1):28-33. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2017.06.
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Submitted: 03 Aug 2016
Revision: 04 Oct 2016
Accepted: 21 Oct 2016
ePublished: 18 Dec 2016
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