The Impact of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Drugs on Physician Visits and Drug Requests: Empirical Findings and Public Policy Implications
International Journal of Research in Marketing, Forthcoming
40 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2011 Last revised: 19 Sep 2014
Date Written: April 7, 2011
This study analyzes the effect of DTCA expenditures for anti-hyperlipidemia drugs on patient behaviors. The key findings are: (a) DTCA expenditures have a positive and long-term effect on the number of visits to physicians by newly-diagnosed hyperlipidemia patients. (b) The effectiveness of DTCA in generating new patient visits varies substantially across patient sub-groups. (c) The effect of DTCA is larger on drug visits than on non-drug-only visits. (d) Own-brand DTCA expenditures increase the number of patient requests for Lipitor and Zocor, but have no effect on patient requests for Pravachol. Competing drugs’ DTCA expenditures have a positive effect only on patient requests for the leading brand, Lipitor. (e) A cost-effectiveness analysis suggests that the economic benefits of DTCA in terms of life years saved by preventing cardiovascular disease are considerably larger than the costs of advertising. (f) DTCA on TV has strong effects on underserved segments of the population, such as those on Medicaid. We believe this finding should be carefully considered by proponents of a complete ban or stricter regulations on DTCA.
Keywords: advertising, pharmaceuticals, health care, DTCA, econometrics
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