Article | American Journal of Managed Care | September 2013

Testimonials Do Not Convert Patients from Brand to Generic Medication

by John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian and Gwendolyn Reynolds

Abstract

Objectives: To assess whether the addition of a peer testimonial to an informational mailing increases conversion rates from brand name prescription medications to lower-cost therapeutic equivalents, and whether the testimonial's efficacy increases when information is added about an affiliation the quoted individual shares with the recipient.

Research Design and Methods: A total of 5,498 union members were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 3 different informational letters: 1 without a testimonial (No Testimonial Group), 1 with a testimonial from a person whose shared union affiliation with the recipient was not disclosed (Unaffiliated Testimonial Group), and 1 with a testimonial from a person whose shared union affiliation with the recipient was disclosed (Affiliated Testimonial Group).

Results: The conversion rate for the No Testimonial Group was 12.2%, which is higher than the Unaffiliated Testimonial Group rate of 11.3% and the Affiliated Testimonial Group rate of 11.7%. The differences between the groups are not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Short peer testimonials do not increase the impact of a mailed communication on conversion rates to lower-cost, therapeutically equivalent medications, even when the testimonial is presented as coming from a more socially proximate peer.

Keywords: testimonial; peer information; social proximity; communication; generic medication; Familiarity; Marketing Communications; Decision Choices and Conditions; Identity; Health Care and Treatment; Marketing Reference Programs; Power and Influence; Brands and Branding; Health Industry;

Citation:

Beshears, John, James J. Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian, and Gwendolyn Reynolds. "Testimonials Do Not Convert Patients from Brand to Generic Medication." American Journal of Managed Care 19, no. 9 (September 2013): e314–e316.