NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Impact of Information Technology on the Diffusion of New Pharmaceuticals

Kenneth J. Arrow, Kamran Bilir, Alan T. Sorensen

NBER Working Paper No. 23257
Issued in March 2017
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Industrial Organization

Do information differences across U.S. physicians contribute to treatment disparities? This paper uses a unique new dataset to evaluate how changes in physician access to a decision-relevant drug database affect prescribing decisions. Our results indicate that doctors using the reference have a significantly greater propensity to prescribe generic drugs, are faster to begin prescribing new generics, and prescribe a more diverse set of products. Notably, physicians using the reference database are not faster to prescribe new branded drugs. Given that a new generic drug resembles its branded equivalent clinically, these results are consistent with database users responding primarily to the increased accessibility of non-clinical information such as drug price and insurance formulary data; the results also suggest improvements to physician information access have important aggregate implications for the costs and efficiency of medical care. We address possible selection effects in physician types by relying on within-doctor variation and an instrument for adoption timing that is based on the marketing strategy of the drug reference firm.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23257

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Finkelstein, Gentzkow, and Williams w20789 Sources of Geographic Variation in Health Care: Evidence from Patient Migration
Boxell, Gentzkow, and Shapiro w23258 Is the Internet Causing Political Polarization? Evidence from Demographics
Einav, Finkelstein, and Mahoney w23100 Provider Incentives and Healthcare Costs: Evidence from Long-Term Care Hospitals
Duflo w23213 The Economist as Plumber
Wang, Wei, Yu, and Zhu w23261 Characterizing Global Value Chains: Production Length and Upstreamness
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us