Patient Knowledge and Antibiotic Abuse: Evidence from an Audit Study in China

Janet Currie, Wanchuan Lin, Wei Zhang

NBER Working Paper No. 16602
Issued in December 2010
NBER Program(s):   HC   HE   PE

We ask how patient knowledge of appropriate antibiotic usage affects both physicians prescribing behavior and the physician-patient relationship. We conduct an audit study in which a pair of simulated patients with identical flu-like complaints visits the same physician. Simulated patient A is instructed to ask a question that showcases his/her knowledge of appropriate antibiotic use, whereas patient B is instructed to say nothing beyond describing his/her symptoms. We find that a patient's knowledge of appropriate antibiotics use reduces both antibiotic prescription rates and drug expenditures. Such knowledge also increases physicians' information provision about possible side effects, but has a negative impact on the quality of the physician-patient interactions.

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This paper was revised on April 26, 2012

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16602

Published: Currie, Janet & Lin, Wanchuan & Zhang, Wei, 2011. "Patient knowledge and antibiotic abuse: Evidence from an audit study in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 933-949. citation courtesy of

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