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Patient Outcomes – Other Outcomes

Analyzing The Relationship Between Televised Direct-to-consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising And Patient Outcomes


  • PI:                Caleb Alexander, MD
  • Funder:       NHLBI
  • Status:        Results Published

While the pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars each year on direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs., the merits of DTCA have been subject to considerable debate.  Few investigations have examined how patient or regional health system characteristics moderate the impact of direct-to-consumer advertising, yet both economic and behavioral theory suggest that such factors may have an important influence on its effects. We are addressing a series of interrelated aims that capitalize on a unique combination of health care utilization data, derived from one of the largest collections of health plan insurance claims available, with measures of exposure to television ads derived from Nielson Media Research. We will supplement this information with data from the Area Resource Files and IMS Health to derive information regarding the context in which the advertising takes place. These data will allow us to examine the effects of DTCA on health care utilization and pharmaceutical sales across therapeutic classes, and to explore the interaction of individual characteristics, contextual influences, and ad characteristics on the relationship between DTCA and utilization and sales.


Layton JB, Kim Y, Alexander GC, Emery SL. Association Between Direct-to-Consumer Advertising and Testosterone Testing and Initiation in the United States, 2009–2013JAMA. 2017;317(11):1159-1166. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.21041.

Chang H-Y, Murimi I, Daubresse M, Qato DM, Emery SL, Alexander GC. Effect of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA) on Statin Use in the United StatesMedical care. 2017;55(8):759-764. doi:10.1097/MLR.0000000000000752.