Purpose/Objectives: To review the phenomenon of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription medications in the media, with an overview of pertinent studies in the literature regarding patients' and healthcare professionals' perspectives on DTC advertising.
Data Sources: Journal articles, media, and clinical experience.
Data Synthesis: DTC advertising of prescription medications is extremely prevalent in U.S. society. Advertising of medications is an expensive business; yearly spending is expected to reach $7.5 billion by 2005. Although opinions vary regarding DTC advertising, healthcare professionals, including oncology nurses, must be prepared to discuss DTC-advertised medications and treatments with their patients.
Conclusions: Communication is the key to helping patients decipher the deluge of DTC advertisements in the media and determine the accuracy of this ever-increasing source of medical information.
Implications for Nursing: Oncology nurses need to be aware of the increases in DTC advertising of prescription medications and the importance of guiding patients through appropriate medication choices by education.