A review of the impact of commercial drug advertising on the emergence of self-medication phenomenon

  • R. Ershadpour
  • Z. Kargar
  • M. Y. Rajput
Keywords: commercial advertising, drug advertising, self-medication


Introduction: Today, the phenomenon of commercial advertising is not a simple information tool to link consumer to producers. The pharmaceutical industry is increasingly influenced by commercial advertising. Self-medication may be one of the major consequences of drug advertising.
Methodology: This review article was conducted through reviewing 100 articles and 12 books, derived from valid libraries and electronic sources.
Findings: Besides the drugs prescribed by physicians, patients also go to pharmacies directly and provide and take different drugs based on their own [often false] diagnosis to prevent their diseases or to treat or strengthen themselves and this is due to the inappropriate culture induced by drug advertising. On the other hand, commercial advertising has changed the culture of over-the-counter (OTC) medications and has increased their use. One of the major strategies used in satellite TV advertising is promotion of the culture of disease among public and in some cases, the information and statistics given by these channels have no scientific and official base. 
Discussion and conclusion: Numerous studies indicate that due to the drug advertising, some common and non-medical symptoms are considered as disease. Considering the lack of awareness of people about the nature of their diseases, further expansion of these ads will certainly result in medication misuse, induction of false need and the prevalence of smuggled, unhealthy and fake drugs among public. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate this phenomenon in Iranian society to identify its unknown dimensions in accordance with today’s Iranian culture and to make effective efforts to promote educations and to build a proper culture.

Keywords: commercial advertising, drug advertising, self-medication

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eISSN: 1112-9867