Timko and Chowansky's Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Psychotropic Medication and Prescription Aut

Timko and Chowansky's Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Psychotropic Medication and Prescription Aut

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Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Psychotropic Medication and Prescription Authority for Psychologists C. Alix Timko and Amy Chowansky University of Pennsylvania The debate regarding prescription authority for psychologists has made salient the probable impact of pharmaceutical marketing on psychologists’ prescribing practices. However, the potential impact of direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription medications on prescribing habits has not been adequately addressed with the psychological literature. When prescription authority is granted, practicing psychologists and trainees need to be aware of the potential impact that DTCA could have on them as both consumers and patient care providers. The current review provides a brief history of direct-to- consumer pharmaceutical marketing and then focuses in on issues relevant to the advertisement of psychotropic medication. The impact that DTCA could have on psychologists is explored, both in practical and theoretical realms. Keywords: prescription privileges, direct-to-consumer advertising, psychotropic medication The debate surrounding the appropriateness of prescription au- thority for psychologists has been raging within the field of psy- chology for about 20 years (Willis, 2003). Though there are a number of psychologists who can prescribe psychotropic medica- tion (e.g., as graduates of the Department of Defense pilot pro- gram, as nurse practitioners, etc.), there are currently only two states (New Mexico and Louisiana) that allow psychologists to prescribe medication (Benjamin, 2005; Long, 2005). The argu- ments for and against prescribing have been documented in a number of publications, including special issues of journals (e.g., Journal of Clinical Psychology ) and edited books dedicated to this around training issues, consolidation of services, an apparent dearth of psychiatrists, the efficacy of medication, impact of pre- scription authority on the field of psychology, and so forth; though in recent years there has been an influx of publications expressing concern about the role of pharmaceutical marketing and its poten- tial impact on prescription habits of psychologists (e.g., Antonuc- cio, Danton, & McClanahan, 2003; Pharmaceutical marketing has a long and profitable history within the field of health care in general; in fact, direct-to- physician advertising has been occurring for well over 50 years (Seidenberg, 1971). Advertising of prescription medication to phy- sicians can take a number of forms, including advertisements in professional journals, detailing (visits from pharmaceutical repre- sentatives to physicians), presentations accompanied by lunches or trips, and sampling. The latter activities are purported to provide education about ways in which new drugs are beneficial to pa- tients. When new drugs come on the market, there is often a lag time between availability of the medication and the publication of
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Timko and Chowansky's Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Psychotropic Medication and Prescription Aut

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