Nav: Home

University of Tennessee professor studies drug website risk warnings

October 12, 2016

KNOXVILLE --Do you take time to read the risk warnings on drug websites before you take the drug?

Mariea Hoy, an advertising professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has studied that question and determined that no, you probably don't.

Last month, Hoy presented her findings in Washington, D.C. at a Federal Trade Commission workshop titled "Putting Disclosures to Test."

Hoy and former UT faculty member Abbey Levenshus, who now teaches at Butler University in Indiana, conducted the research, and their findings were recently published in the Journal of Risk Research.

"We looked at whether consumers seek out, notice and read risk disclosures on a branded drug website," Hoy said.

She and Levenshus recruited 29 people with seasonal allergies to participate in their study. Those people were told that the researchers were studying how individuals look for health information online and that they would be looking at a website for a new prescription allergy drug. The website included a warning section, listing the risks associated with the drug.

To determine how much attention the people paid to the risk warnings, the researchers used eye tracking to see how where and how long they looked; survey questions asking the participants how much of the risk information they read; and a post-task interview to revisit the website and review how they read the information.

Hoy and Levenshus conclude that although 80 percent of the study participants claimed to have read half of the information or more, they had done only limited reading and had limited recall of the listed risks.

"This study's eye-tracking, survey and interview data have demonstrated that mere exposure to risks does not automatically indicate risk readership--no matter how fairly and well balanced or clearly and conspicuously those risks may be presented," they concluded.

Why do consumers skim over this important information?

They found that most of the study participants focused on the drug's benefits and ignored the risks.

"Perceived familiarity with the health condition, its risks and companion drug options surfaced as the primary explanation for failure to seek, and subsequently process, the risk information," the researchers conclude.

To increase consumers' attention to risks, the scholars recommend that drug manufacturers present the information differently.

They suggest that risks be presented before benefits and any risk information unique to the drug be highlighted graphically with borders or colors.

Hoy said she was pleased that the FTC noticed the study and invited her to present its findings at the workshop, whose attendees ranged from academic researchers to members of government agencies.

"I am honored to have represented my university, my college and most particularly my school to spotlight the research that our faculty and graduates produce," she said.

Hoy has worked in UT's School of Advertising and Public Relations since 1989. She teaches courses in research, advertising and society and the major's capstone course, Campaigns. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and her Master of Business Administration and doctorate from Oklahoma State University.
-end-


University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Related Advertising Articles:

Less advertising for high-calorie snacks on children's TV
The number of overweight children has increased significantly. Some food and beverage companies have signed a voluntary commitment at EU level to restrict advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and salt to children.
Advertising continues to assume mothers only use knowledge for domestic caring
Magazine adverts continue to tell mothers to put caring for their families front and centre - and encourage them to devote all their knowledge to protecting and caring for them rather than for their own benefit or professional advancement.
'Native advertising' builds credibility, not perceived as 'tricking' visitors
CATONSVILLE, MD, December 2, 2019 - The concept of ''native advertising'' has been in existence for as long as advertisements were designed to resemble the editorial content in newspapers and magazines.
Researchers call for industry regulation to stop 'photoshop' frenzy in advertising
In a newly published analysis of legal and regulatory strategies that may help combat rampant 'photoshopping' and the portrayal of unrealistic beauty standards in advertising, researchers from Harvard, Dickinson and Michigan State University College of Law are calling for industry regulation to curtail digital alteration of images in advertising.
High-density of alcohol outlets and advertising affect youth drinking
Alcohol use among Tanzanian youth is rising and the high density of alcohol selling outlets and alcohol advertisements coupled with low enforcement of minimum drinking age laws are likely facilitating this uptick.
Companies battling shareholder complaints have a potent weapon-advertising
A new study in the Journal of Marketing explores how firms can configure advertising investments to respond to shareholder complaints and limit the damage of these public battles.
Electoral regulations must tackle 'inequalities' caused by political advertising on Facebook
Regulators must find a way of monitoring and addressing the way political advertising on Facebook creates new types of inequalities for campaigners, experts have said.
Study finds differences in storefront tobacco advertising by product type
In response to US restrictions on where tobacco companies are allowed to advertise their products, the industry now dedicates nearly all of its $9 billion advertising budget to activities occurring in retail settings.
Tweeting while viewing doesn't diminish TV advertising's reach and often leads to shopping
People watching 'social shows' like 'Dancing with the Stars' or 'The Bachelor' on television and simultaneously sharing their views on Twitter are more likely to be committed to the program and shop online, according to new research from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.
Crisis management: When your celebrity advertising endorser generates negative publicity
Researchers from the University of Connecticut and Free University of Berlin published new research in the INFORMS journal Management Science that provides companies with substantiated, actionable insights on strategies for effectively responding to situations where their highly compensated celebrity endorsers generate negative publicity.
More Advertising News and Advertising Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.