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Pricing behaviour of pharmacies after market deregulation for OTC drugs: The case of Germany


  • Stargardt, Tom
  • Schreyögg, Jonas
  • Busse, Reinhard


Objective To examine the price reactions of German pharmacies to changes made to OTC drug regulations in 2004. Prior to these changes, regulations guaranteed identical prices in all German pharmacies.Methods Two years after market deregulation, 256 pharmacies were surveyed to determine the retail prices of five selected OTC drugs. A probit regression model was used to identify factors that increased the likelihood of price changes. In addition, 409 pharmacy consumers were interviewed to gather information on their knowledge of the regulatory changes and to better explain consumer behaviour.Results Data was collected on a total of 1215 prices. Two years after deregulation, 23.1% of the participating pharmacies had modified the price of at least one of the five OTCs included in our study. However, in total, only 7.5% of the prices differed from their pre-deregulation level. The probit model showed that population density and the geographic concentration of pharmacies were significantly associated with price changes. Interestingly, the association with the geographic concentration of pharmacies was negative. The consumer survey revealed that 47.1% of those interviewed were aware of the deregulation.Conclusions Our findings indicate that, two years after deregulation, very few pharmacies had made use of individual pricing strategies; price competition between pharmacies in Germany is thus taking place only a very small scale.

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  • Stargardt, Tom & Schreyögg, Jonas & Busse, Reinhard, 2007. "Pricing behaviour of pharmacies after market deregulation for OTC drugs: The case of Germany," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 30-38, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:84:y:2007:i:1:p:30-38

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anell, Anders, 2005. "Deregulating the pharmacy market: the case of Iceland and Norway," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 9-17, December.
    2. Reinhard Busse & Tom Stargardt & Jonas Schreyögg, 2005. "Determining the “Health Benefit Basket” of the Statutory Health Insurance scheme in Germany," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 6(1), pages 30-36, November.
    3. Z. John Lu & William S. Comanor, 1998. "Strategic Pricing Of New Pharmaceuticals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 108-118, February.
    4. Reich, Michael R., 1995. "The politics of health sector reform in developing countries: three cases of pharmaceutical policy," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-3), pages 47-77.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vogler, Sabine & Habimana, Katharina & Arts, Danielle, 2014. "Does deregulation in community pharmacy impact accessibility of medicines, quality of pharmacy services and costs? Evidence from nine European countries," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 311-327.


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