The Effect of Medical Cannabis Laws on Pharmaceutical Marketing to Physicians
44 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2020
Date Written: August 3, 2020
Although cannabis is federally prohibited, a majority U.S. states have implemented medical cannabis laws (MCLs). As more individuals consider the drug for medical treatment, they potentially substitute away from prescription drugs. Therefore, an MCL signals competitor entry. This paper exploits geographic and temporal variation in MCLs to examine the strategic response in direct-to-physician marketing by pharmaceutical firms as cannabis enters the market. We use office detailing records from 2014-2018 aggregated to the county level and find detailing increases by 7\% in the quarter an MCL is proposed. The increase is temporary, however, and attenuates after MCL approval. We then incorporate physician-level cannabis recommendation data from Florida and find opioid detailing to cannabis-friendly doctors declines following MCL enactment. Although we find weak evidence of a similar decline in our primary analysis, the effects are muted at the aggregate level by the small percent of doctors that recommend cannabis.
Keywords: Cannabis, Medical Marijuana, Prescription Drugs, Competitor Entry, Detailing
JEL Classification: I11, L21, D22, D78
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation