Suitability of written supplemental materials available on the Internet for nonprescription medications

Lorraine S. Wallace, Edwin S. Rogers, Lori W. Turner, Amy J. Keenum, Barry D. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose. The suitability, readability, and cultural appropriateness of written supplemental materials available on the Internet for nonprescription medications were examined. Methods. We videotaped 48 hours of television programming, recording a total of 152 advertisements highlighting 37 unique nonprescription medications. The supplemental materials corresponding to each advertised medication were downloaded and printed in their entirety from each product-specific Web site. These materials were assessed using the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM) instrument. Total SAM scores were grouped as follows: not suitable (0-39%), adequate (40-69%), and superior (70-100%). The Fry readability formula was used to determine the reading grade level for the materials assessed with the SAM instrument. Results. The mean ± S.D. SAM score of all materials was 54.9% ± 0.1% (range, 38-76%). Materials for the majority of drugs (86.5%, n = 32) were rated adequate. Materials for four drugs (10.8%) were rated superior, and the material for one drug was not suitable. While the total SAM scores were adequate for most of the materials evaluated, the majority of materials scored particularly poorly for their reading level (the materials for 81.1% of drugs were not suitable). The materials for 40.9% of drugs used uncommon words. Conclusion. Evaluation of the suitability, readability, and cultural appropriateness of written supplemental materials for nonprescription medications available on manufacturer-sponsored Web sites and intended for consumers or patients revealed that SAM scores were adequate for most of the materials; however, many scored poorly in the areas of reading level and used uncommon words.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

Keywords

  • Advertising
  • Computers
  • Drug information
  • Drugs, nonprescription
  • Ethnic groups
  • Industry, pharmaceutical
  • Internet
  • Patient information
  • Readability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy

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