M.T. Encinas, J.M. Ros-Rodríguez, J.A. Gilabert

Universidad Complutense of Madrid (SPAIN)
In the current learning and teaching paradigm, the lecturer role has changed becoming the main objective to engage and motivate students to learn the subject material outside the classroom. One way to make students aspire to learn is suggesting the learning like a pleasant and funny activity and showing them the relevance of the material to everyday life. The use of audiovisual material to put pharmacology in context has previously been used in practical, clinical or tutorial settings. Entertainment media (commercial and popular movies, telefilms, TV series) or movies specifically made for this purpose have been used. The experiences have demonstrated that they may increase the motivation of students to understand pharmacology principles and may too become a driving force for an increased desire to learn.

The present experience explores the analysis of advertising (ads) related to veterinary medicines like a stimulating learning tool in undergraduate students. This work was offered to students like an activity for learning support during a voluntary seminar. Ads from TV, internet and professional journals or other magazines were selected for nonprescription drugs used in animal drug therapy. During the seminar sessions the pharmacological basis leading to the therapeutic use of the advertised product were discussed. Special attention was paid on vagueness words, confused expressions or omissions of substantial information that could get customer wrong. The active discussion helps students to understand and review clinical and pharmacological concepts and to relate theory to practice by recognizing that what they are learning is actually being used.
Differences in ads contents for a same medicine product were observed attending to the audiovisual media and the target people whom was addressed to (veterinarians, technicians, students, pet owner, farmer,…). Some advertisements contained more appeals to consumers (economic convenience, long-lasting,…) than clinical benefits (control of symptoms, efficacy,…). However, other ones lack of the key elements to educate receivers.

In addition, this activity may help to introduce some relevant topics such as the need of considering bioethical principles (direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs), and the social and public health aspects (self-prescription, resistance induction) of the animal drug therapy. Furthermore, the advertising analysis increases the interest of students about advertisement regulatory and leads them to explore the legal requirements.