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Increased Broadcast Media Spending Leads Consumers to Higher-Priced Prescription Drugs


Increased Broadcast Media Spending Leads Consumers to Higher-Priced Prescription Drugs

Do radio and TV ads for new prescription drugs steer consumers toward newer, high-priced products? Bentley professor Dhaval Dave says “yes,” according to a recent study of the implications of both broadcast and non-broadcast direct-to-consumer advertising on rising prescription drug costs and demand. The research, “Impact of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising on Pharmaceutical Prices and Demand,” received the 2013 Georgescu-Roegen Prize from the Southern Economic Association (SEA). 

“Ad expenditures are beneficial if they raise a consumer’s awareness of drug options and improve patient-physician contact,” says Dave, associate professor of economics. “What comes into question is whether advertising would lead consumers to request and physicians to prescribe a more expensive drug in place of equally effective lower-priced options.”

Questions stemmed from the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of increased (DCTA) spending in broadcast in the U.S. in 1997. Dave’s findings indicate that broadcast DTCA is responsible for 19 percent of the overall growth in drug expenditures, with more than two-thirds of this due to higher demand and the rest due to higher prices. The caveat, warns Dave, is that higher drug and health care expenditures in general could also raise insurance premiums and may lead to a larger prevalence of uninsured.

Dave and co-author Henry Saffer received the award at the SEA Conference in Tampa in November.

Dhaval Dave's research focuses on the analysis of public policy and on the economics of health outcomes and behaviors, health insurance and human capital. His work has been published in leading academic journals such as the Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Health Economics, and Economic Inquiry, and featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and U.S. News and World Report, and on FOX Network News, National Public Radio and CBS TV News. His current work includes studies on pharmaceutical promotion, welfare reform in the U.S., tobacco control policy, juvenile justice and the economics of obesity and mental health.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,200 full-time undergraduate, 82 part-time undergraduate, 1,000 graduate and 24 doctoral students. Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranks Bentley among the top 10 undergraduate business programs in the country. The Princeton Review’s Annual Best Colleges Guide names Bentley number one in the nation for career services and internship opportunities. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education.


by Meredith Mason  January 31, 2017

Princeton Review has ranked Bentley University the No. 1 college for internship opportunities in the United States as part of their 2017 edition of “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give you the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck.”