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Can Credence Advertising Effects Be Isolated? Can They Be Negative?: Evidence from Pharmaceuticals


  • W. David Bradford

    () (Department of Public Administration and Policy, 201C Baldwin Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA)

  • Andrew N. Kleit

    () (Department of Meteorology and Center for Health Care Policy, 213 Hosler Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA)


We explore the relative impact of informative versus the credence effects of direct-to-consumer advertising in the market for prescription drugs. In particular, we examine how advertising for statin medications affects the delay between diagnosis and pharmacological treatment for patients with elevated cholesterol, as well as the time between treatment initiation and therapy switching. Duration models of delay to treatment indicate that over some ranges, advertising increases the likelihood of treatment, while over other ranges greater advertising is associated with lower likelihood of treatment. Results for the switching behavior models indicate that on net, advertising tends to both discourage switching between drugs and encourage therapy continuation. However, the component of the advertising that represents credence effects is generally positive, which indicates that as patients' spell of drug usage lengthens, the Food and Drug Administration–required warnings in advertisements induce consumers to switch away from the pharmaceuticals they are using.

Suggested Citation

  • W. David Bradford & Andrew N. Kleit, 2011. "Can Credence Advertising Effects Be Isolated? Can They Be Negative?: Evidence from Pharmaceuticals," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 167-190, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:78:1:y:2011:p:167-190
    DOI: 10.4284/0038-4038-78.1.167

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    Cited by:

    1. W. David Bradford & Andrew N. Kleit, 2015. "Impact of FDA Actions, DTCA, and Public Information on the Market for Pain Medication," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(7), pages 859-875, July.
    2. Eisenberg, Matthew D. & Avery, Rosemary J. & Cantor, Jonathan H., 2017. "Vitamin panacea: Is advertising fueling demand for products with uncertain scientific benefit?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 30-44.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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