Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 94, Issue 2, pp 211–224 | Cite as

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Pharmaceuticals as a Matter of Corporate Social Responsibility?

  • Pepijn K. C. van de Pol
  • Frank G. A. de BakkerEmail author


Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs has been a heavily contested issue over the past decade, touching on several issues of responsibility facing the pharmaceutical industry. Much research has been conducted on DTCA, but hardly any studies have discussed this topic from a corporate social responsibility (CSR) perspective. In this article, we use several elements of CSR, emphasising consumer autonomy and safety, to analyse differences in DTCA practices within two different policy contexts, the United States of America and the European Union (EU). Doing so results in an alternative analysis of the struggle between proponents and opponents of DTCA from a CSR perspective, adding an alternative view on this debate.


corporate social responsibility (CSR) pharmaceutical industry direct-to-consumer-advertising (DTCA) consumer safety 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pepijn K. C. van de Pol
    • 1
  • Frank G. A. de Bakker
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Sport and Exercise SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamU.K.
  2. 2.Department of Organization Science, Faculty of Social ScienceVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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