Yahoo! submitted comments to Docket No. FDA‐2009‐N‐0441 regarding Promotion of FDA‐Regulated Medical Products Using the Internet and Social Media Tools (find it here).
In defense of the "one-click rule" for space-limited "generic" search ads and "Rich Ads in Search (RAIS)," Yahoo! presented a study that purports to prove that "When it comes to side effects... the patient mindset appears to be ambivalent until research for an ailment is needed" (see Exhibit A (pdf)). The following chart was offered in evidence:
It's not clear from Yahoo!'s comments whether or not respondents to their survey were asked to look at specific online ads. Recall that Merck, in its defense of the "one-click rule," did a study that asked respondents opinions about specific ads they were shown (see "Merck Says FDA Should Approve the 'One-Click Rule'").
A bigger problem I have with these data is that they do not support Yahoo!'s conclusion. Although 23-26% of respondents claim they agreed or strongly agreed with the statements, twice as many (43-45%) must have said they disagreed or strongly disagreed! I contend, therefore, that these results DO NOT prove the point that Yahoo! was trying to make. In fact, the data prove just the opposite: patients DO pay attention to medication side effects in online advertising BEFORE they ask their doctors or research it more online!
Am I not seeing something that I should be seeing in these data? Take a look at Exhibit A (pdf) yourself and tell me what you think.