Why We Don’t Need More Regulation of Drug Ads
This past legislative session, Missouri was one of 27 states to file legislation that would restrict pharmaceutical advertising. And a column in the Post-Dispatch a few weeks ago complained about pharmaceutical advertising’s possible adverse effects:
Pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers are traveling the country, armed with presentations they say will educate sophisticated consumers responsible for more of their health care dollar.
But the effect could be the same as it has been with pharmaceutical commercials more patients begging for the latest in medicine even if the science isn’t as good or a less expensive option would work just as well.
Now, Christie Raniszewski Herrera is blogging about the issue at StateHouseCall.org:
A Cornell study compared magazine advertising data with the reading habits of smokers and found that the more magazine ads smokers saw for the nicotine patch and other quit-smoking aids, the more likely they were to try to quit smoking and be successful — even without buying the products.
Reading this reminded me of another study demonstrating the benefits of prescription drug advertising. This wonderful paper by Alan Sorenson (who’s now at the Stanford business school) provides evidence that consumers use advertisements to shop around and save money on prescription drugs.