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Pharmaceutical parallel trade in Europe: stakeholder and competition effects

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  • Panos Kanavos
  • Joan Costa-Font

Abstract

"Pharmaceutical parallel trade in the European Union is a large and growing phenomenon, and hope has been expressed that it has the potential to reduce prices paid by health insurance and consumers and substantially to raise overall welfare. In this paper we examine the phenomenon empirically, using data on prices and volumes of individual imported products. We have found that the gains from parallel trade accrue mostly to the distribution chain rather than to health insurance and consumers. This is because in destination countries parallel traded drugs are priced just below originally sourced drugs. We also test to see whether parallel trade has a competition impact on prices in destination countries and find that it does not. Such competition effects as there are in pharmaceuticals come mainly from the presence of generics. Accordingly, instead of a convergence to the bottom in EU pharmaceutical prices, the evidence points at 'convergence to the top'. This is explained by the fact that drug prices are subjected to regulation in individual countries, and by the limited incentives of purchasers to respond to price differentials." Copyright � CEPR, CES, MSH, 2005.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by CEPR & CES & MSH in its journal Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 20 (2005)
Issue (Month): 44 (October)
Pages: 751-798

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecpoli:v:20:y:2005:i:44:p:751-798

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Cited by:
  1. Puig-Junoy, Jaume & López-Valcárcel, Beatriz González, 2014. "Launch prices for new pharmaceuticals in the heavily regulated and subsidized Spanish market, 1995–2007," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 170-181.
  2. Panos Kanavos & Sotiris Vandoros, 2010. "Competition in prescription drug markets: is parallel trade the answer?," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(5), pages 325-338.
  3. Hostenkamp, Gisela & Kronborg, Christian & Arendt, Jacob Nielsen, 2012. "Parallel imports of hospital pharmaceuticals: An empirical analysis of price effects from parallel imports and the design of procurement procedures in the Danish hospital sector," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 16/2012, Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark.
  4. Raimondos-Møller, Pascalis & Schmitt, Nicolas, 2010. "Commodity taxation and parallel imports," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 153-162, February.
  5. Carone, Giuseppe & Schwierz, Christoph & Xavier, Ana, 2012. "Cost-containment policies in public pharmaceutical spending in the EU," MPRA Paper 42008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Granlund, David, 2012. "The effect of pharmacies’ right to negotiate discounts on the market share of parallel imported pharmaceuticals," HUI Working Papers 75, HUI Research.
  7. Giorgio Matteucci & Pierfrancesco Reverberi, 2011. "Parallel trade and its impact on incentives to invest in product quality," DIS Technical Reports 2011-05, Department of Computer, Control and Management Engineering, Universita' degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza".
  8. Mazumdar, Mainak & Banerjee, Dyuti S., 2012. "On price discrimination, parallel trade and the availability of patented drugs in developing countries," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 188-195.
  9. Mueller-Langer, Frank, 2009. "Does parallel trade freedom harm consumers in small markets?," MPRA Paper 40194, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Gorecki, Paul K. & Nolan, Anne & Brick, Aoife & Lyons, Seán, 2012. "Pharmaceuticals Delivery in Ireland. Getting a Bigger Bang for the Buck," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS24.
  11. Granlund, David & Köksal, Miyase Yesim, 2011. "Parallel Imports and Mandatory Substitution Reform - A Kick or A Muff for Price Competition in Pharmaceuticals?," HUI Working Papers 49, HUI Research.
  12. Shen Guo & Bin Hu & Hai Zhong, 2013. "Impact of parallel trade on pharmaceutical firm’s profits: rise or fall?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 345-355, April.

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