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BOB HIRSHON (host):
The side effects of drug prices. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
More expensive drugs sometimes work better because patients expect them to. But this can have a flipside called the nocebo effect: people also expect pricier drugs to have more negative side effects. Now, researchers report in the journal Science that volunteers using a dermititis cream labeled with an expensive name brand reported more pain and had increased activity in pain processing areas of the brain, than those who used a cream with a cheap, generic label. University Medical Center of Hamburg neuroscientist Alexandra Tinnermann says the creams were actually identical and contained no active ingredients.
ALEXANDRA TINNERMANN (University Medical Center of Hamburg, Germany):
The nocebo effect is stronger in the expensive group than the cheap group.
She says the results could help guide doctors when discussing a drug’s side effects with patients. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.
Story by Susanne Bard