Ethics of implicit persuasion in pharmaceutical advertising

Paul Biegler*, Jeanette Kennett, Justin Oakley, Patrick Vargas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Direct to Consumer Advertising of Prescription Pharmaceuticals (DTCA) is a controversial practice permitted only in the United States and New Zealand. Central to why all other nations ban DTCA is concern about its capacity to impart complete, balanced, and accurate information that guides effective consumer decisions. Yet the debate has, thus far, paid scant attention to how implicit or unconscious persuasion in DTCA might influence consumer attitudes toward advertised drugs. In this chapter, one means of implicit persuasion, evaluative conditioning, is argued to have deleterious effects on the autonomous agency that DTCA viewers bring to medicine choices and on the wider doctor-patient relationship. These effects suggest implicit persuasion should be given much greater consideration in the development of public policy on the marketing of pharmaceuticals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Neuroethics
EditorsJens Clausen, Neil Levy
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789400747074
ISBN (Print)9789400747067
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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