Each year the average American obtains 5.8 prescription drugs and, additionally, takes numerous over-the-counter medications. The total annual cost of prescribed medicines is $5.75 billion, a figure that does not include costs for about 950 million prescriptions dispensed to hospital inpatients and another $4 to 8 billion for OTC medicines. These drugs are taken to prevent, cure, or alleviate a wide variety of diseases and symptoms, both real and imaginary, mild and serious. Questions of interest to attribution theorists regarding this drug use process include the following: what events lead to decisions to initiate, modify, or discontinue drug therapy; what sources of information about one's state of health are used to judge a drug's success or failure; what causal explanations accompany these judgments? This paper explores drug use from an attribution perspective, with a special focus on how people interpret physical and behavioral events before, during, and after drug therapy.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.