Study recognizes DTC health benefits

Study recognizes DTC health benefits

03.06.13 | By

I explored a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) today and was encouraged by its balanced views on direct to consumer advertising (DTC), including recognition that DTC advertising helps patients on numerous fronts.

According to Dr. Dhaval Dave, the study author, associate professor of economics at Bentley University and research associate for the NBER, DTC can educate "consumers with regard to treatment options for their symptoms" and facilitate communication between patients and physicians.

In addition, the study found that advertising can help patients who are currently on medication stick to their treatment regimens. An increasing body of research shows that improved adherence helps to not only improve outcomes, but control other health care costs such costly medical procedures and hospitalizations. A great example is with Medicare Part D. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, implementation of Part D was followed by a $1,200 decrease in nondrug medical spending, such as hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, in the second year of the program among beneficiaries who previously had limited or no drug coverage.

Raising awareness of diseases and treatment options can be empowering for patients, encouraging them to learn more and talk with their doctors about their medical care and concerns. All of this helps patients take a more active role in their health, control other health care costs, and spur dialogue with health care providers. The more we communicate, the better, and it is good to know that DTC is helping patients reap health benefits.

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