In an experiment in Mali, we tested whether patients pressure providers to prescribe unnecessary medical treatment. We varied patients' information about a discount for antimalarial tablets and measure demand for both tablets and costlier antimalarial injections. We find evidence of patient-driven demand: informing patients about the discount, instead of letting providers decide to share this information, increased discount use by 35 percent and overall malaria treatment by 10 percent. These marginal patients rarely had malaria, worsening the illness-treatment match. Providers did not use the information advantage to sell injections—their use fell in both information conditions.
Lopez, Carolina, Anja Sautmann, and Simone Schaner.
"Does Patient Demand Contribute to the Overuse of Prescription Drugs?"
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
Analysis of Health Care Markets
Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration