Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Communication Studies

Abstract

A survey of 500 respondents from Beijing, China, was conducted to investigate their perceptions of the functions and consequences of pharmaceutical advertising and their medical decisions. Results indicated that Chinese consumers held a very positive attitude toward advertising in general, as well as toward pharmaceutical advertising in particular. Pharmaceutical advertising was most readily accepted as information for brand differentiation and market updates. However, pharmaceutical advertising was considered neither enjoyable nor trustworthy. Chinese consumers were marginally concerned about societal effects such as manipulation and economic benefits. They were most concerned about the economic costs of advertising. Consumers strongly supported the need for tighter control of the content of pharmaceutical advertising. Self-medication was found to be common in China (as opposed to going to a medical doctor). The proportion of consumers who used over-the-counter pharmaceuticals as a first-line treatment ranged from 35 percent for constipation to 51 percent for flu. Neither western nor traditional Chinese medical treatments gained overall popularity over the other among consumers for five common health problems. Dissatisfied Chinese consumers were more likely to bad-mouth a brand than complain to authorities. Pharmaceutical advertisers should adopt a mixed use of product and institutional advertising to market their products in China.

Publication Year

1998

Journal Title

Journal of International Consumer Marketing

Volume number

10

Issue number

4

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

First Page (page number)

49

Last Page (page number)

68

Referreed

1

DOI

10.1300/J046v10n04_04

ISSN (print)

08961530

Link to Publisher’s Edition

http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J046v10n04_04

Keywords

Pharmaceutical advertising, Chinese consumers, medical decision

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