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Direct-to-consumer prescription drug websites for stigmatized illnesses
Unformatted Document Text:  information, stigma-reducing information needs to be more present on the homepages so as to lead the consumer to the relevant second layer. The limitation of this study should be acknowledged. The results of a content analysis cannot demonstrate how consumers perceive and interact with the website, even though the website is one of best mediums as interactive communications with people. A further study is needed to learn the causal relationship between stigma-reducing message components and consumers’ beliefs and behavioral intention changes through experiments. Moreover, there needs to be testing to see whether and to what extent consumers really use DTC prescription drug websites in order to get information about stigmatized disease through a survey interview. It also remains to be tested whether and to what extent DTC prescription drug websites are helpful for consumers in changing beliefs and behavioral intentions as well as whether stigma-reducing components in DTC websites are effective or not. In conclusion, we need to point out the limited and insufficient stigma-reducing components in DTC prescription drug websites. Even though the primary purpose of DTC websites is to sell drugs, pharmaceutical companies should realize that more and more people look for the drug websites to get disease information, especially on sensitive medical conditions. Considering that those medical conditions are often under-treated, more balanced educational information is needed so as to motivate and direct people with stigmatized conditions to seek out appropriate treatments. References Allport, Gordon W. (1954), “The Nature of Prejudice,” Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.Barth, Karen R., Robert L. Cook, Julie S. Downs, Galen E. Switzer, and Baruch Fischhoff (2002), “Social Stigma and Negative Consequences: Factors that Influence College Students' Decisions to Seek Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections,” Journal of American College Health, 50(4), 153-9. 22

Authors: Kang, Hannah. and An, Soontae.
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information, stigma-reducing information needs to be more present on the homepages so as to 
lead the consumer to the relevant second layer. 
The limitation of this study should be acknowledged. The results of a content analysis 
cannot demonstrate how consumers perceive and interact with the website, even though the 
website is one of best mediums as interactive communications with people. A further study is 
needed to learn the causal relationship between stigma-reducing message components and 
consumers’ beliefs and behavioral intention changes through experiments. Moreover, there needs 
to be testing to see whether and to what extent consumers really use DTC prescription drug 
websites in order to get information about stigmatized disease through a survey interview. It also 
remains to be tested whether and to what extent DTC prescription drug websites are helpful for 
consumers in changing beliefs and behavioral intentions  as well as whether stigma-reducing 
components in DTC websites are effective or not. 
In conclusion, we need to point out the limited and insufficient stigma-reducing 
components in DTC prescription drug websites. Even though the primary purpose of DTC 
websites is to sell drugs, pharmaceutical companies should realize that more and more people 
look for the drug websites to get disease information, especially on sensitive medical conditions. 
Considering that those medical conditions are often under-treated, more balanced educational 
information is needed so as to motivate and direct people with stigmatized conditions to seek out 
appropriate treatments. 
Allport, Gordon W. (1954), “The Nature of Prejudice,” Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Barth, Karen R., Robert L. Cook, Julie S. Downs, Galen E. Switzer, and Baruch Fischhoff 
(2002), “Social Stigma and Negative Consequences: Factors that Influence College 
Students' Decisions to Seek Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections,” Journal of 
American College Health, 50
(4), 153-9.

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