224 Direct-to-Consumer Advertising in Oncology T he O ncologist ® Finally, while studies specific to oncology are rare, Viale and Sanchez Yamamoto  surveyed 221 American oncology nurse practitioners (ONPs). Ninety-four percent reported having had a request for medication by a patient who had seen an advertisement, with 40% experiencing one to five requests per week. Fifty-two percent of the ONPs “never” felt pressured to prescribe, but 43% “sometimes” felt pressured to prescribe. Alarmingly, 74% said patients asked for inappropriate medications. Interestingly, 63% felt that direct-to-consumer advertising fostered patient–ONP dialogue. The authors concluded that direct-to-consumer advertising was prevalent in ONP–patient encounters and had the potential to influence prescribing behavior. Patient Outcomes How do patients’ attitudes about direct-to-consumer adver-tising affect their behavior? In a survey of 329 respondents from Sacramento, CA, Bell and associates showed that awareness of advertisements and respondents’ subsequent medication requests were both associated with prescrip-tion drug use in general, media exposure, positive attitudes toward direct-to-consumer advertising, poorer health, and better insurance coverage . Respondents were more likely to be aware of ads for treatments for the diseases they had; for example, asthmatics were twice as likely to be aware of advertisements for an asthma drug than those
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