Ethics of implicit persuasion in pharmaceutical advertising

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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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 (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Neuroethics
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789400747074
ISBN (Print)9789400747067
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Medicine
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Social Sciences


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