Deregulating Direct-to-Consumer Marketing of Prescription Drugs: Effects on Prescription and Over-the-Counter Product Sales
This paper examines the impact and interrelationships between direct-to-consumer (DTC) and physician-oriented marketing on the sales composition of the prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) versions of antiulcer and heartburn medications. To understand better the implications for competition of the 1997 Food and Drug Administrationâ€™s policies regarding DTC marketing, as well as recent Rx-to-OTC switch approvals, we also examine the relationship between order-of-entry effects and marketing intensities. We find spillover effects of marketing for Rx drugs on sameâ€ brand OTC versions of the drugs. We also find that the ratio of cumulative marketing intensity (cumulative marketing efforts divided by cumulative sales) in the OTC segment increases monotonically with order of entry. Our regression results show that various marketing demand elasticities depend on order of entry. Our findings document the importance of nonprice competition in the OTC drug market and suggest that the recent deregulation of Rx DTC marketing enhances rivalry and facilitates competition.