Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Higher the Price the Better It Works--Placebo Drugs That Cost More Found to "Work Better"

That was the somewhat humorous--but nonetheless valuable--conclusion from a study sponsored by MIT and led by a Duke behavioral economist.

It seems that researchers told one group that a medication cost $2.50 per pill and told another group that it cost ten cents per pill. Both were identical placebos.

85% of those who took the "$2.50 pill" reported pain relief.

61% of those who took the "10 cent pill" reported pain relief.

I guess we have always known that when it comes to health care a good name and a higher price has always counted for something in the absence of hard data to the contrary.

Yesterday, in a post reporting a 7.4% increase in brand-name prescription drugs during 2007, I asked why it was necessary for these prices to rise by two-and-a-half times the rate of overall inflation.

Maybe the pharmaceutical industry knows that lots of advertising and higher prices actually help them!


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