How Drug Company Ads Downplay Risks

February 20, 2019

(Scientific American) – However, the FDA’s assumption that more risk information leads to greater concern about risk is misplaced. Across six experiments, comprising of over 3000 US participants, we reliably find that when drug commercials include all side effects (both major and minor), in line with the FDA’s regulations, consumers’ judged the overall severity of drug side effects to be lower than when exposed to only major side effects. This lowered assessment of severity led consumers to prefer the drug more—and made them willing to pay more for the drug.

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