Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising Prohibition in Ethiopia: Health Professionals Knowledge and Perception
Ethiopia prohibited direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) for any drug product since the early 1980s. This total drug advertising prohibition is rare, and possibly unique, in the world. The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge and perceptions of health professionals on issues regarding DTCA. A nonprobability sampling procedure was utilized and 200 respondents were included in the survey. The sample primarily consisted of pharmacists, physicians, and nurses. The response rate was 74% (148/200). Regarding to opinions on DTCA, respondents were closely divided between agreement and disagreement. However, physicians tended to favour the idea of permitting DTCA to a greater degree as compared to the other health professionals. Taking the limitations of the survey into consideration, there is no indication to justify a total ban of DTCA. However, as to whether DTCA should be practiced in Ethiopia, a careful evaluation on the pros and cons of DTCA deems to be relevant. Therefore, this survey tends to recommend further debates and focus group discussions to determine its applicability to the Ethiopian setting before initiating any policy change. Future research may also be interested to learn about consumers’ views on DTCA of drugs.
Keywords: drug, direct-to-consumer advertising, consumer, information, prohibition.