Prescribing Public Policy in the EU: Agenda-Building and Direct-to-Consumer Advertising
This study analyzes key international mass media issues related to the European Union regulation of direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs. These European Union DTCA policy issues are contrasted with US policy issues and viewed through the agenda-setting/building traditions of mass communication research. The study charts the similarities and differences between United States and European Union policy on DTCA during the past decade. The role of key stakeholder groups in both the US and EU and their probable effect on EU public policy are also noted. A content analysis provides insight into the role played by international mass media in forecasting change in EU advertising policy. The study highlights the specific targeting of key stakeholder groups in the EU and US -- a practice that may be the driving force of both EU and US advertising policy. This study provides insight into how mass media and key stakeholders may be influencing public policy on this international health issue.
Keywords: Agenda Setting, Public Policy, Mass Media, Direct-to-Consumer Advertising, Prescription Drugs
Dr. Thomas Christie
assistant professor, communication, University of Texas at Arlington
Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Department of Communication, University of Texas at Arlington