Consumer choice for over-the-counter drugs and supplements in the health care arena

Date of publication: February 22, 2004


A framework is presented to understand how consumers respond to eight topics for OTC health care, ranging from simple physical examinations to medicinal shampoo. The objective is to understand how consumers process information about health care, such as the information that is currently available on the Internet, and whether there exists a higher order set of behaviors that transcend individual OTC topics. The study comprises a combination of self-profiling to understand the consumer, and conjoint analysis to understand the choice of features and communications. Results suggest a division of consumers into three segments; those who want a quick fix, those who want a statement of the benefit to them, and those who want a detailed explanation of how and why the product works. This segmentation applies to self-medication but not preventative health care such as physical examinations and healthful eating, suggesting these are separate frameworks in the consumers minds. At the macro level the approach shows the feasibility of creating a new type of database to understand the consumer mind-set.

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