Last updated on: 3/13/2014 | Author:

Uwe Reinhardt, PhD Biography

Former Professor of Political Economy, Economics, and Public Affairs at Princeton University
Pro to the question "Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?"

“I may be the odd person out, but I always felt advertising to consumers is a reasonable thing for the industry to do. A) There is the First Amendment. You make new products. Why can’t you tell people about it? Why should that industry be forbidden to do it, when the auto industry can advertise SUVs? Right? You can ask yourself.

Secondly, we’ve found in research that quite a few patients don’t actually get the drugs. There were these studies on beta blockers that said only about half the patients in America got beta blockers after a heart attack. Well, you could ask, ‘Wouldn’t it have been good if on television they had seen, ‘If your loved one has a heart attack, be sure to ask that he gets beta blockers?” So I think I’m on the industry side on that.

The money isn’t that overwhelming. I think it’s something like $8 billion, maybe $10 [billion], that they’re spending on it. Doctors and HMO executives are vexed by this, because you have patients coming to the doctor and say, ‘I want Vioxx,’ or ‘I want this drug or that drug.’ My feeling is, that’s why we have doctors. A good doctor should say, ‘Yes, it’s a drug,’ or say, ‘Actually, let me show you. I have a study here. That drug, for the money, isn’t worth it.’ That is the doctor’s job. So I don’t understand why you would take away freedom of speech to an industry, when it’s so easy to counter it.”

Interview with Frontline,, Oct. 9, 2002

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Professor of Political Economy, Economics, and Public Affairs, Princeton University, 1970-2017
  • Member, Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, 1978-present
  • Senior Associate, Judge Institute for Management of Cambridge University, UK
  • Trustee, Duke University and the Duke University Health System
  • Director, Boston Scientific
  • Trustee, Hambrecht & Quist Life Sciences Fund
  • Trustee, Health Care Fund
  • Member, Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Health Economics
  • Member, Editorial Board, Milbank Memorial Quarterly
  • Member, Editorial Board, Health Affairs
  • Member, Editorial Board, New England Journal of Medicine
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Commissioner, Physician Payment Review Committee, 1986-1995
  • PhD, Economics, Yale University, 1970
  • BComm, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, 1964
  • Born in Germany
  • Dr. Reinhardt died on Nov. 13, 2017
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?