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Advertising prescription drugs to consumers is becoming increasingly common and expensive—over $3 billion in 2003—yet the mechanism by which advertising drives requests for prescription drugs remains largely unexplored. Contextual differences suggest an empirical trial of the classic attitude-toward-the-advertisement (Aad) model to explain how advertising influences these requests might be warranted. This study tests the Aad model, as well as a modified version of the model containing variables unique to the health care context, to test its explanatory ability in this context. Results from multiple samples suggest the superiority of the modified model in understanding drug requests across a broad range of drug types. In addition to health care variables, ethnicity and age impact modeled relationships. A discussion of the health consequences of model fit for drug companies, public policy, and consumers is also presented.
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