Student Events at the ISPOR Meeting 2002
Interview with University of Michigan Chapter President
Student Commentary on Direct-To-Consumer Advertising
The ISPOR Seventh Annual International Meeting is around the corner
with some interesting activities for students.
This newsletter highlights the upcoming student events at the ISPOR annual meeting.
Also included is an interview with Cher Beilfuss, University of Michigan Student ISPOR
Chapter President. Cher Beilfuss describes their chapter’s strategies that increased their
student chapter membership from 25 to 75 in just one year. Prashant Nikam, the OSU
Student Chapter President shares a commentary on Direct-To-Consumer Advertising.
Hope you enjoy this newsletter!!
Please send your recommendations and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Sonalee Shah B.Pharm The University of Toledo Chapter President, ISPOR Student News Editor
Reema Mody B.Pharm.West Virginia University, ISPOR Student News Editor
Zeba M Khan, PhD, ISPOR Student Network Advisor, ISPOR Student News Co-Editor
C. Denise Clemmons, ISPOR Student Network Chair, ISPOR Student News Co-Editor
ISPOR ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL MEETING – STUDENT ACTIVITIES
All activities will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
The following are the student activities at the Annual Meeting:
Sunday, May 19, 2002
Student Icebreaker & Reception
9:00 – 10:00 p.m.
The icebreaker is going to have several giveaways:
1) Complimentary Registration for Eighth Annual International Meeting
2) Complimentary Student Memberships
3) Complimentary Short Courses
4) ISPOR Mouse Pads
Monday, May 20, 2002
5:10 - 6:00 p.m.
“Careers In Academia, Consulting, Government and Industry: A View From the
Speakers: C. Daniel Mullins PhD, Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, University
of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA and
Dean G. Smith PhD, Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
This will be a good opportunity for students to interact with each other and share
knowledge about their research and interests.
INTERVIEW WITH CHER BEILFUSS, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
1) When was the University of Michigan ISPOR Student Chapter initiated? What was the
initial membership? Describe the growth in its membership and scope of activities. Could
you mention the different groups of members in the ISPOR Student chapter?
Answer: The University of Michigan Student ISPOR Chapter was initiated by John
Coombs, Pharm.D (a UM-Pfizer fellow at the time) in May 2000, during the fifth annual
ISPOR meeting. The chapter started with seven members and now our membership has
increased to more than 75 members. Our members consist of Pharm D. students,
pharmacy doctoral students, graduate students from the department of health
management and policy and epidemiology (School of Public Health), Pfizer fellows, a
diverse group of faculty members, and other outcomes research scientists working in the
Ann Arbor area. Our chapter conducts monthly lunch meetings with invited speakers
from within the university and other pharmaceutical and outcomes research organizations
within the state of Michigan. We obtain our funds from the University of Michigan
Student Assembly and these funds are used to ensure the successful running of our
2) How did you manage to attract such a varied group of participants (postdoctoral
fellows, graduate students, Pharm.D residents and students) for the ISPOR Student
chapter? Could you describe in brief some of the strategies implemented to increase the
membership to the current level?
Answer: At the beginning of the fall semester, our group (like many others at our
university) has a booth outside the School of Public Health to recruit new students into
our chapter. We personally explain the scope of outcomes research and the exciting job
prospects available upon graduation. We also post fliers at key locations within the
university and in mailboxes of pharmacy students. Since we provide free membership,
many students are inclined to join our group. At every meeting we have a sign up sheet,
maintaining a record of our members along with their email addresses. We also created a
list serve so that all meeting announcements can be made to each of our members in the
most cost-effective manner. Other techniques used to increase our membership include:
1) having food at all our meetings, 2) having informal gatherings during the semester, 3)
sending out ‘miss you’ emails after every meeting to all our members who could not
attend, and 4) sponsoring four annual ISPOR memberships (through a lucky draw) to
members attending all our meetings.
3) Do you have any activities planned for the future to further increase the Chapter
Answer: Activities planned for the future include targeting students interested in
outcomes research from the University of Michigan Business School, School of
Medicine, and the School of Nursing. We feel that this would increase our diversity and
would also provide students and faculty from different departments within our university
an opportunity to interact and collaborate with each other. We also plan on conducting
more social activities such as arranging an ISPOR picnic/outing so that our members get
to know one another better.
DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER ADVERTISING: A NEED FOR EVIDENCE-
A Commentary by Prashant Nikam, MS
PhD Candidate, Division of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, The Ohio State
University, Columbus, Ohio; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent years, pharmaceutical manufacturers have been engaging consumers in an effort to
influence physician prescribing patterns. Such appeals, known as direct-to-consumer
advertising (DTCA), encourage consumers to approach their physicians about specific drug
products. DTCA is comprised of direct mail solicitations, radio and television commercials,
magazine and newspaper advertisements, and publicly placed messages on billboards and
mass transit kiosks1. This new approach to pharmaceutical marketing has stimulated
substantial debate among stakeholders regarding the effectiveness of DTCA. Currently, there
are more opinions than facts in the scientific and lay literature. Hence, there is a great need for
additional empirical data exploring the impact of DTCA on consumer awareness, attitudes,
beliefs, and behaviors. Such scientific evidence will further our understanding of the
effectiveness of DTCA and help policy makers evaluate the current regulations pertaining to
DTCA. The primary goal of this commentary is to provide a brief background about DTCA
and discuss opportunities for future research in this particular domain.
In August of 1997, the FDA changed the requirements for DTCA, permitting broadcast
(television and radio media) advertising to mention both the drug name and indications
without a brief summary, as long as “major side effects” are also mentioned2. Moreover,
manufacturers were required to provide a statement explaining that additional
information is available from other sources, such as toll-free telephone numbers, Internet,
print advertising, and healthcare professionals like physicians and pharmacists 3. This
FDA ruling was tested for a period of two years, from 1997-99, after which time its
effects were evaluated. In August of 1999, the FDA pronounced the two-year test a
success and finalized the guidelines for broadcast DTCA with the rationale that “...FDA
is unaware of any data supporting the assertion that the public health or animal health is
being harmed or is likely to be harmed by the agency’s actions in facilitating consumer-
directed broadcast advertising” 4.
Advertising expenditure has more than tripled from $791 million in 1996 to $2.5 billion in
2000. Television advertising, in particular has grown from $220 million in 1996 to $1.6
billion in 2000 – in part due to the relaxation of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules
governing such ads. In addition, $898 million were spent on advertisements in print and other
Merits And Demerits Of DTCA
DTCA is currently one of the most controversial public policy issues in the health care
industry. Proponents emphasize that DTCA:
1. Informs consumers about new drug therapies
2. Enhances patient-physician relationship
3. Improves compliance to medication regimens
4. Results in lower prices for pharmaceuticals due to increased competition
However, the opponents of DTCA state that:
1. Consumers lack the expertise to assess the quality of the content of the
promotional claims through DTCA
2. The risk-benefit discrepancy in the promotional communications will mislead
3. It will harm patient-physician relationship
4. It will lead to increase in prescription drug costs and inappropriate health care
In summary, stakeholders have divergent viewpoints regarding DTCA.
Need For Future Research
As DTCA increases, it has become crucial to understand how consumers respond to these
promotional messages. Lyles in his recent review concludes that the evidence for DTCA’s
impact on pharmaceutical sales is as impressive as is the lack of evidence concerning its
impact on the health of the public 6. Clearly, DTCA has not been adequately studied from a
public health, psychosocial, and health services research perspective. There is a need for
theoretically rigorous research that evaluates the merits and demerits of DTCA. Here are few
suggestions towards a research agenda:
On the consumer side, it is vital to empirically explore the impact of DTCA have on
consumer attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Experimentally demonstrating the effect of
DTCA on consumer behavior will be a significant contribution to the field. Moreover,
it is important to study how DTCA affects consumer health knowledge and
The effects of DTCA on medical practice have been explored in a limited sense.
Research needs to expand the inquiry to patient-physician relationship, physician
prescribing patterns after the advent of DTCA, and lastly cost of care due to increased
physician visits and demand for prescription medications.
From a health services research perspective, long-term clinical and health outcomes
effects of the inflated prescription demand needs to be assessed.
As evident from the previous discussion, it is crucial to further our understanding of impact of
DTCA on consumers, practitioners, and policymakers through evidence-based research.
Empirically, DTCA is a highly unexplored area of research. Graduate students interested in
healthcare marketing research should embark on this wide opportunity to explore various
issues surrounding DTCA. In conclusion, DTCA is a very important social and scientific
issue. Hence, applying excellent theoretical and methodological approaches to research in this
area will have a profound impact on the health policy and healthcare marketing in years to
1) Foley, L.A. and Gross, D.J. (2000). Are Consumers Well Informed About
Prescription Drugs? The Impact of Printed Direct-to-Consumer Advertising.
AARP Public Policy Institute. http://research.aarp.org.
2) Food and Drug Administration. Prescription Drug Advertising. (1999). 21 Code
of Federal Regulations Pt.202.1(e).
3) Terzian, T.V. (1999). Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Advertising.
American Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(1): 149-167
4) Teinowitz, I. & Goetzl, D. (1999, August 8). FDA Oks rules for direct-to-
consumer Rx ads. Advertising Age, 70, 3-5.
5) The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2001). Survey Report: Understanding
the Effects of Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Advertising.
6) Lyles A. (2002). Direct Marketing of Pharmaceuticals to Consumers. Annual
Review of Public Health. 23:73-91.
Authors comment: Currently, I am working on my dissertation that deals with DTCA and
its impact on consumer behavior. If you have any suggestions, comments, or criticisms
about the commentary, please address it to: Prashant Nikam, 129 B Parks Hall, 500 West
12th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Telephone: (614) 292 3907. Thank you.