Patients perceive more expensive treatments as more effective

Knowing the price of a medicine can change the way patients perceive its effectiveness, according to a study published in Science and featured by The New York Times.

The study tests the "nocebo effect," or how patients react when they have negative expectancies. Researchers randomly assigned patients to test one of two anti-itch creams. One was said to be more expensive, and the other to be a cheaper, generic version, according to The New York Times report. Patients knew which cream they were given. Neither cream contained medicine.

Patients were told an adverse side effect of the creams was potential increased sensitivity to heat. When exposed to heat, patients who used the more expensive cream reported experiencing more pain, according to the report. The findings indicate price plays a role in how patients perceive the effectiveness of certain drugs.


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