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BRISTOL-MYERS' "BUFFERIN-REPORT": 48% OF PUBLIC IS AWARE THAT ASPIRIN

Executive Summary

BRISTOL-MYERS' "BUFFERIN-REPORT": 48% OF PUBLIC IS AWARE THAT ASPIRIN is useful in the treatment of some heart problems, the aspirin manufacturer found in a survey of 1,000 Americans. The survey, conducted for Bristol-Myers by the public opinion research company Research & Forecasts, concludes that while approximately "half the general public are aware that aspirin is recommended by some physicians in the treatment of some heart problems, [they] . . . are not very familiar with the specifics of how and when it is used." Survey participants were asked to rank as "true," "false," or "don't know" specific heart-related claims for aspirin as being "established by recent scientific studies." The claims included: "aspirin can prevent heart attacks" (30% responded "true", 52% "false"); "aspirin can prevent heart attacks in individuals who have already had a heart attack" (22% true, 55% false); "aspirin can prevent stroke" (21% true, 58% false); "aspirin can prevent dying from a heart attack for persons with recurring chest pains" (10% true, 67% false). FDA approved aspirin labeling in October 1985 for use in the prevention of heart attacks in patients who have experienced a first heart attack and in men with unstable angina ("The Pink Sheet" Oct. 14, 1985, T&G-2). Of the 480 respondents who said they were aware that aspirin is recommended by some physicians for certain heart problems, "only one in four (28%) say they received their information from the doctor," the report notes. The most frequently cited source of information about aspirin use in preventing heart problems was the media. Fifty one percent said they had heard of the aspirin/heart connection from newspapers or magazines, 41% cited television or radio, 32% friends, 21% advertisements, 9% brochures from physicians, and 5% pharmacists. The report, which also surveys the public on exercise, diet and a number of other issues relevant to cardiovascular health, concludes that based on the response to questions about aspirin, "consumers need more information on treatment for heart problems." The potential marketing strategy suggested by the report is in line with recent promotional efforts by brand-name aspirin manufacturers. Sterling, for example, recently told analysts that detailing of its Bayer aspirin to cardiologists and internists, as well as its "wonder drug" consumer ad campaign, contributed to a 23% increase in sales ("The Pink Sheet" Dec. 1, p.3).
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