Drug Diffusion through Peer Networks: The Influence of Industry Payments†

Leila Agha*, Dan Zeltzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pharmaceutical companies market to physicians through individual detailing accompanied by monetary or i n-kind transfers. Large compensation payments to a small number of physicians account for most of this promotional spending. Studying US promotional payments and prescriptions for anticoagulant drugs, we investigate how peer influence broadens the payments' reach. Following a compensation payment, prescriptions for the marketed drug increase from both the paid physician and the paid physician's peers. Payments increase prescriptions to both recommended and contraindicated patients. Over three years, marketed anticoagulant prescriptions rose 23 percent due to payments, with peer spillovers contributing a quarter of the increase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Economic Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


FundersFunder number
Foerder Institute for Economic Research
National Institutes of HealthPO1 AG19783
Tel Aviv University


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