This systematic review of cross-disciplinary peer-reviewed quantitative research into pharmaceutical marketing ethical issues from 1990 to 2021 reveals a focus on direct-to-consumer advertising and physician-directed promotion. This review documents inconsistent findings across studies due to discrepancies and limitations in research designs, study populations, sampling procedures, and analytical approaches as well as discipline-specific biases and normative ethical ideologies. We present a comprehensive taxonomy of ethical issues from the systematic review, additional scholarly and industry publications, and expert interviews. We recommend that future research test causal inferences, use rigorous research designs, explore under-researched topics, resolve conflicting findings, and incorporate ethical theories.
- direct-to-consumer advertising
- ethical issues with pharmaceutical sales representatives
- marketing mix
- Pharmaceutical and medical ethics
- physician-directed promotions
- systematic review