Factors to Consider in Improving Prescription Drug Pharmacy Leaflets

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International Journal of Advertising

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Today, when consumers receive prescription drug pharmacy leaflets (also known as ‘consumer medication information’ or CMI), they often appear in small font size, with cluttered layouts, and distracting information. This problem has attracted the attention of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in advocating for more comprehendible, accurate, and easy-to-access CMI formats. Our study of four different CMI prototypes shows that an expanded Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Facts prototype is the best for improving comprehension accuracy, and is especially effective for those with lower health literacy and health motivation. A simpler OTC prototype did not aid accuracy scores due in part to its lack of complexity; whereas the most complex prototype (the revised medication guide – similar to most CMI today) reduced leaflet likability and usage intentions. Finally, continued leaflet availability improved accuracy scores for lower health literacy and health motivation respondents. Implications for marketing and public health policy are offered.


International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 34, No. 5 (2015): 765-788. Permalink.