THE EFFECT OF DIRECT TO CONSUMER TELEVISION ADVERTISING ON THE TIMING OF TREATMENT

Authors

  • W. DAVID BRADFORD,

    1. Bradford: Busbee Chair in Public Policy, 201C Baldwin Hall, Department of Public Administration and Policy, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. Phone 706-542-2731, Fax 706-583-0610, E-Mail bradfowd@uga.edu
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  • ANDREW N. KLEIT,

    1. Kleit: Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics, MICASU Faculty Fellow, Department of Meteorology, Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, 507 Walker Building, University Park, PA 16802-5013
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  • PAUL J. NIETERT,

    1. Nietert: Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, 135 Cannon St., Room 403J, Charleston, SC 29425. Phone (843) 876-1204, E-mail nieterpj@musc.edu
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  • STEVEN ORNSTEIN

    1. Ornstein:Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425. Phone (843) 876-1213, E-mail ornstesm@musc.edu
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    • *

      The authors would like to thank Jack Calfee, John Cawley, and Terry Steyer for their comments and assistance on this paper as well as participants at the Sloan Program Conference on Consumers, Information and the Evolving Healthcare Market Place, the 2005 Annual Health Economics Conference (State College, Pennsylvania), and the 2005 International Health Economics Biannual Congress (Barcelona). This paper was funded by grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (1 R01 HS011326-01A2) and from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (1 R01 HL077841-01).


Abstract

We examine how direct to consumer advertising affects the delay between diagnosis and pharmacological treatment for patients suffering from a common chronic disease. The primary data for this study consist of patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis (N = 18,235) taken from a geographically diverse national research network of 72 primary care practices with 348 physicians in 27 states over the 1999–2002 time period. Brand-specific advertising data were collected for local and network television at the monthly level for the nearest media markets to the practices. Results of duration models of delay to treatment suggest advertising does affect the length of time that patients and physicians wait to initiate therapy. This evidence suggests that these effects may be welfare enhancing in that advertising tends to encourage more rapid adoption among patients who are good clinical candidates for the therapy and leads to less rapid adoption among some patients who are poor clinical candidates. (JEL D12, I11)

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