A systematic review was conducted to identify, appraise, and synthesize data from original research investigating the use of traditional media for public communication about medicines. Databases were searched for studies conducting quantitative or qualitative analyses between the years 2007 and 2017. Data extraction and assessment of the quality of the resulting studies was conducted by one reviewer and checked for accuracy by a second reviewer. A total of 57 studies met the inclusion criteria. Studies were grouped as follows: "newspapers and other print media" (n = 42), "television" (n = 9), and "radio and a combination of media" (n = 6). Content analysis (n = 34) was the most frequent research design, followed by surveys or interviews (n = 14) and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (n = 9). Advertising, public awareness, and health administration were the most common themes, and the medicines most analyzed were vaccines, particularly human papillomavirus (HPV) and influenza. Studies conducted in the United States were the most frequent, followed by other high-income countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom. The lack of consistent studies of the effects of media campaigns stresses the importance of the use of standardized research methodologies. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings for further research are discussed.
prescription drug print; mass-media; hpv vaccine; newspaper coverage; united-states; news media; health literacy; information; campaign; representations