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Marketing Pharmaceutical Drugs to Women in Magazines: A Content Analysis

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Objectives : To examine the prevalence and content of pharmaceutical ads in demographically different women's magazines.

Methods : A content analysis was conducted using one year's worth of 5 different women's magazines of varying age demographics.

Results : Magazines differed in the proportion of drug ads for different health conditions (eg, cardiovascular) and target audience by age demographic. Use of persuasive elements (types of appeals, evidence) varied by condition promoted (eg, mental-health drug ads more frequently used emotional appeals). Ads placed greater emphasis on direction to industry information resources than on physician discussions.

Conclusions : Prevalence of pharmaceutical advertising in women's magazines is high; continued surveillance is recommended.
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Keywords: direct-to-consumer advertising; drugs/medications; magazines; pharmaceutical ads

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1 House Staff, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Richmond, VA.

Publication date: 01 July 2010

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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