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The impact of direct-to-consumer television and magazine advertising on antidepressant use

Author

Listed:
  • Avery, Rosemary J.
  • Eisenberg, Matthew D.
  • Simon, Kosali I.

Abstract

We examine whether exposure to direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) for antidepressant drugs affects individual use of these medications among those suffering from depression. Prior studies have almost exclusively relied on making connections between national or market-level advertising volume/expenditures and national or individual-level usage of medications. This is the first study to: estimate the impact of individual-level exposure to DTCA on individual-level use of antidepressants; estimate the impact of individual-level exposure to television DTCA on individual-level use in any drug class; consider the relative and interactive impact of DTCA in two different media in any drug class; and, consider the heterogeneity of impact among different populations in an econometric framework in the antidepressant market. There are also important limitations to note. Unlike prior market level studies that use monthly data, we are limited to aggregated annual data. Our measures of potential advertising exposure are constructed assuming that media consumption patterns are stable during the year. We are also not able to study the impact of advertising on use of antidepressants for conditions other than depression, such as anxiety disorders. We find that: DTCA impacts antidepressant use in a statistically and economically significant manner; that these effects are present in both television and magazine advertising exposure but do not appear to have interactive effects; are stronger for women than for men in the magazine medium, but are about equally strong for men and women in the TV medium; and, are somewhat stronger for groups suffering from more severe forms of depression. The overall size of the effect is a 6–10 percentage point increase in antidepressant use from being exposed to television advertising; the corresponding magazine effects are between 3 and 4 percentage points.

Suggested Citation

  • Avery, Rosemary J. & Eisenberg, Matthew D. & Simon, Kosali I., 2012. "The impact of direct-to-consumer television and magazine advertising on antidepressant use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 705-718.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:31:y:2012:i:5:p:705-718 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2012.05.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rosemary Avery & Donald Kenkel & Dean R. Lillard & Alan Mathios, 2007. "Private Profits and Public Health: Does Advertising of Smoking Cessation Products Encourage Smokers to Quit?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 447-481.
    2. Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "Persuasion or Information? The Economics of Prescription Drug Advertising," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 45-74, April.
    3. Rosenthal Meredith B. & Berndt Ernst R. & Donohue Julie M. & Epstein Arnold M. & Frank Richard G., 2003. "Demand Effects of Recent Changes in Prescription Drug Promotion," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, pages 1-28.
    4. Meredith B. Rosenthal & Ernst R. Berndt & Julie M. Donohue & Arnold M. Epstein & Richard G. Frank, 2003. "Demand Effects of Recent Changes in Prescription Drug Promotion," NBER Chapters,in: Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 6, pages 1-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ackerberg, Daniel A, 2001. "Empirically Distinguishing Informative and Prestige Effects of Advertising," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 316-333.
    6. John E. Calfee & Clifford Winston & Randolph Stempski, 2002. "Direct-to-Consumer Advertising and the Demand for Cholesterol-Reducing Drugs," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(S2), pages 673-690.
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    Cited by:

    1. Katolik, Aleksandra & Oswald, Andrew J., 2017. "Antidepressants for Economists and Business-School Researchers: An Introduction and Review," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 338, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    2. Abby Alpert & Darius Lakdawalla & Neeraj Sood, 2015. "Prescription Drug Advertising and Drug Utilization: The Role of Medicare Part D," NBER Working Papers 21714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Matthew Chesnes & Ginger Zhe Jin, 2016. "Direct-to-Consumer Advertising and Online Search," NBER Working Papers 22582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Terris-Prestholt, Fern & Windmeijer, Frank, 2016. "How to sell a condom? The impact of demand creation tools on male and female condom sales in resource limited settings," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, pages 107-120.
    5. repec:eee:jhecon:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:30-44 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Depression; DTC advertising; Magazine; Television; Pharmaceutical;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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