Research Insight 72 | Marketing Regulation

Marketing Regulations in the Pharmaceutical Industry – Effects on Consumer Behavior

Riede, K./ Homburg, Ch./ Bamberger, B.

Self-medication with over-the-counter drugs is becoming increasingly popular among consumers due to their many perceived benefits. However, the misuse of these drugs has also been rising steadily since then. Politicians are seeking to counter this phenomenon by introducing marketing regulations.

To date, however, there is insufficient evidence to show whether marketing regulations are effective in terms of the intended increase in prescribed drug use and to determine how such regulations influence consumer behavior. Research from an international online survey of consumers suggests that marketing regulations indirectly adversely affect prescription adherence, but also harm the performance of pharmaceutical companies by negatively impacting consumer brand loyalty. Policy makers should consider these harmful effects and develop alternative intervention measures that actually contribute to the intended consumer protection without harming the performance of pharmaceutical companies. In addition, managers should align their marketing strategies with existing national marketing regulations to mitigate their adverse effects.

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