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Information Accessibility and Consumers' Knowledge of Prescription Drug Benefits and Risks



By increasing the visual accessibility of information in prescription drug advertisements, mechanical features enhance consumers' knowledge and attitudes, and increase the likelihood they will respond to the advertisement. An experiment using a print advertisement stimulus found that a “traffic light” heuristic elicited higher recall of both risks and benefits. These findings were partially replicated in an online study, where the “traffic light” was consistently more effective than the format currently used in New Zealand direct-to-consumer advertising. Simple measures that improve the visual accessibility of risk information support consumers' decision making and may also enable them to play more active roles in managing their health care.

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