Journal of Social Marketing, Volume 6, Issue 4, October 2016.
Purpose

To enhance the effectiveness of pharmacovigilance programs that provide information about medical products in order to benefit consumers, aid health care professional’s decision-making, and improve community health. This research sought to determine whether distinct segments of consumers can be identified for prescription drug safety social marketing and communication activities, and if these segments would respond differently to information about prescription drug products.

Design/methodology/approach

Theories of risk information-seeking behavior were used to develop questions for respondents in an online survey panel. Latent class analyses identified clusters that were similar in their ability to accurately interpret risks and benefits, preferred sources of health information, medication use, and other related factors. Multinomial logistic regression models identified demographic and psychographic differences across the segments. Logistic and linear regression models were then used to compare each segment’s responses to a specific drug safety information product.

Findings

The 1,244 respondents clustered into four segments: Not Engaged (12%), Low Involvement Users (29%), Careful Users (50%), and Social Information Seekers (9%). These segments were distinguished by perceived seeking control, self-appraisal of skill, information insufficiency, self-efficacy, information competency, and health literacy. Sources of health information and health seeking behaviors were also different across the four segments. Significant differences were found among the segments in their comprehension and perceived utility of the content and their intentions to take relevant actions.

Practical implications

From an array of potential behavioral influences, adults can be segmented by risk information-seeking constructs and related behaviors. These segments respond differently to drug safety information. Use of the personas developed in this work can help pharmacovigilance programs around the world develop more relevant and tailored social marketing products, services, and content. Originality/value A social marketing approach using empirically-tested theoretical constructs can be useful for drug safety or pharmacovigilance programs. The results were used to create personas that quickly convey relevant information to drug safety program managers and staff.

 

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