Does Price Reveal Poor-Quality Drugs? Evidence from 17 Countries
AbstractFocusing on 8 drug types on the WHO-approved medicine list, we constructed an original dataset of 899 drug samples from 17 low- and median-income countries and tested them for visual appearance, disintegration, and analyzed their ingredients by chromatography and spectrometry. Fifteen percent of the samples fail at least one test and can be considered substandard. After controlling for local factors, we find that failing drugs are priced 13.6-18.7% lower than non-failing drugs but the signaling effect of price is far from complete, especially for non-innovator brands. The look of the pharmacy, as assessed by our covert shoppers, is weakly correlated with the results of quality tests. These findings suggest that consumers are likely to suspect low quality from market price, non-innovator brand and the look of the pharmacy, but none of these signals can perfectly identify substandard and counterfeit drugs. Indeed, many cheaper non-innovator products pass all quality tests, and are genuine generic drugs.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16854.
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Bate, Roger & Jin, Ginger Zhe & Mathur, Aparna, 2011. "Does price reveal poor-quality drugs? Evidence from 17 countries," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1150-1163.
- D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
- D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing
- D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
- I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
- L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Lanjouw, Jean O. & Cockburn, Iain M., 2001. "New Pills for Poor People? Empirical Evidence after GATT," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-289, February.
- Grossman, Gene, 1986.
"Counterfeit Product Trade,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
103, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato, 2006. "Price, quality, and reputation: evidence from an online field experiment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 983-1005, December.
- Wolinsky, Asher, 1983. "Prices as Signals of Product Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 647-58, October.
- Cooper, Russell & Ross, Thomas W, 1984. "Prices, Product Qualities and Asymmetric Information: The Competitive Case," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 197-207, April.
- Richard G. Frank & David S. Salkever, 1997. "Generic Entry and the Pricing of Pharmaceuticals," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 75-90, 03.
- Richard G. Frank & David S. Salkever, 1997. "Generic Entry and the Pricing of Pharmaceuticals," NBER Working Papers 5306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Danzon, Patricia M. & Chao, Li-Wei, 2000. "Cross-national price differences for pharmaceuticals: how large, and why?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 159-195, March.
- Anis, Aslam H. & Wen, Quan, 1998. "Price regulation of pharmaceuticals in Canada," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 21-38, January.
- Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1988.
"Foreign Counterfeiting of Status Goods,"
NBER Working Papers
1915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Danzon, Patricia M & Chao, Li-Wei, 2000. "Does Regulation Drive out Competition in Pharmaceutical Markets?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 311-57, October.
- Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
- George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.