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Direct-to-consumer prescription drug websites for stigmatized illnesses
Unformatted Document Text:  Cude’s (2004) study shows¸ imbalance between risk and benefit information in DTC advertisement causes consumers’ low understanding of drug risks (Berndt 2005). The lack of disease information and over-emphasis on drug promotion raises concern about the impact of DTC websites on public health outcomes. In terms of each stigma-reducing component on the second layer, there is a notable lack of offset controllability. Offset controllability was provided less than onset controllability and recategorization. The lack of offset controllability may lead consumers to consume more DTC drugs. Without presenting other coping options and efforts, relative emphasis on onset controllability may make the drug more salient as the primary treatment option. Over-prescribing or illegal prescriptions is already a big issue on the Internet. According to the FDA, there are at least 400 web sites which offer prescribing services, and the number of prescription drugs illegally sold through websites may now be closer to 1,000 (FDA 2010). Given such Internet environment, the lack of offset controllability may perpetuate the view that taking pills is an easy fix without personal efforts. Emphasizing onset controllability without offset controllability also may cause another type of stigma called “different species” (Mehta and Farina 1997). Relative emphasis on onset controllability could make people categorize others with the stigmatized illnesses as the “other” group. Another concern goes to the finding that almost half of the websites (52.3 percent) did not contain any stigma-reducing components either by textual or visual cues on the homepage. Although more stigma-reducing information was found on the second layer, information on the second layer will be only available to the consumer who moves further from the homepage. The homepages as an entry point to a site possess the biggest impact on consumers’ impressions (Chan-Olmsted and Park 2000). In order to maximize the educational value of disease 21

Authors: Kang, Hannah. and An, Soontae.
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Cude’s (2004) study shows¸ imbalance between risk and benefit information in DTC 
advertisement causes consumers’ low understanding of drug risks (Berndt 2005). The lack of 
disease information and over-emphasis on drug promotion raises concern about the impact of 
DTC websites on public health outcomes. 
In terms of each stigma-reducing component on the second layer, there is a notable lack 
of offset controllability. Offset controllability was provided less than onset controllability and 
recategorization. The lack of offset controllability may lead consumers to consume more DTC 
drugs. Without presenting other coping options and efforts, relative emphasis on onset 
controllability may make the drug more salient as the primary treatment option. Over-prescribing 
or illegal prescriptions is already a big issue on the Internet. According to the FDA, there are at 
least 400 web sites which offer prescribing services, and  the number of prescription drugs 
illegally sold through websites may now be closer to 1,000 (FDA 2010). Given such Internet 
environment, the lack of offset controllability may perpetuate the view that taking pills is an easy 
fix without personal efforts. Emphasizing onset controllability without offset controllability also 
may cause another type of stigma called “different species” (Mehta and Farina 1997). Relative 
emphasis on onset controllability could make people categorize others with the stigmatized 
illnesses as the “other” group. 
Another concern goes to the finding that almost half of the websites (52.3 percent) did 
not contain any stigma-reducing components either by textual or visual cues on the homepage. 
Although more stigma-reducing information was found on the second layer, information on the 
second layer will be only available to the consumer who moves further from the homepage. The 
homepages as an entry point to a site possess the biggest impact on consumers’ impressions 
(Chan-Olmsted and Park 2000). In order to maximize the educational value of disease 
21


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