Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication


Heifferon, Barbara


The increased use of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription pharmaceuticals has caused everyone from physicians and patients to congressmen and professionals to question the ethics of the practice. Although the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulates advertising content, healthcare professionals often criticize the practice on the basis of weakening the doctor-patient relationship and jeopardizing patient well-being. Pharmaceutical companies have found print and broadcast ads in DTC campaigns to greatly increase the sales of their products. However, because of the impact of DTC on patient lives and health, the ethics of the practice need examination. The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether current DTC efforts are ethical and to create a model for ethical decision-making within the industry.