Direct-to-consumer communication on prescription only medicines via the Internet in the Netherlands, a pilot study Opinion of the pharmaceutical industry, patient associations and support groups
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Objective: Investigation of the current application of direct-to-consumer (DTC) communication on prescription only medicines via the Internet in the Netherlands.
Method: Questionnaires were sent by e-mail to 43 Dutch innovative pharmaceutical industries and 130 Patient Association and Support Groups (PASGs).
Results: In this pilot study, the response of the pharmaceutical industry was rather low but the impression is that they were willing to invest in DTC communication.
The majority of the websites of PASGs did not link to websites of pharmaceutical companies. The PASGs had no opinion whether patients can make a good distinction between DTC advertising and information on websites of the pharmaceutical industry nor about the quality. PASGs did not think unambiguously about the impact on the patient–doctor relationship.
Conclusion: The impact of DTC communication on prescription only medicines via the internet is not yet clear in the Netherlands.
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