Direct-To-Consumer Advertising: Obliged to Be Healthy

Andrew Jardine, University of Otago
ABSTRACT - Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs is a relatively recent form of marketing communication. Advocates suggest that DTCA both informs and empowers patients/consumers. But viewed from a wider sociological perspective, DTCA is premised upon and extends aspects of lifestyle choice, self-responsibility and risk assessment. As a result, DTCA promotes a medicalized view of society, where everyday aspects of life come to be defined as medical problems seeking the input of medical specialists and medical technology. The anti-obesity drug Xenical provides context for DTCA in this paper. Xenical, as an example of a 'lifestyle drug’, uses the body as a focus of disciplinary power for surveillance medicine. Within a health promotion framework, individuals targeted by DTCA are obliged to govern themselves in the interests of their own health.
[ to cite ]:
Andrew Jardine (2004) ,"Direct-To-Consumer Advertising: Obliged to Be Healthy", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 31, eds. Barbara E. Kahn and Mary Frances Luce, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 485-490.