"Something like a third of consumers who've seen a drug ad have talked to their doctor about it," says Julie Donohue, a professor of public health at the University of Pittsburgh who is considered a leading expert on this subject. "About two-thirds of those have asked for a prescription. And the majority of people who ask for a prescription have that request honored."
Proponents of DTC prescription drug ads contend that the ads inform patients about diseases and possible treatments, encourage people to seek medical advice, help remove stigma associated with medical conditions, and provide needed sales revenue to fund costly research and development of new drugs.
A commenter at the New York Times argued the ads have a positive effect on consumers:
Numerous studies demonstrate that prescription drug advertising provides extremely valuable information to millions of Americans who are not adequately informed about the dangers of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other life-threatening and debilitating diseases.