Research suggests that marketing antidepressants to consumers has had some benefits, but hasn’t raised prices.How Drug Ads Can Help Patients Get Access to Treatment
Paper Promoting Wellness or Waste? Evidence from Antidepressant Advertising
It is taken as given by many policy makers that Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of prescription drugs drives inappropriate patients to treatment. Alternatively, advertising may provide useful information that causes appropriate patients to seek treatment. I study this dynamic in the context of antidepressants. Leveraging variation driven by the borders of television markets, I find that a 10% increase in antidepressant advertising leads to a 0.3% ($32 million) increase in new prescriptions followed by reductions in workplace absenteeism worth about $770 million. I find no effect of advertising on prices, generic penetration, drug switches, adverse effects, non-adherence rates or therapist visits.
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