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Reference pricing of pharmaceuticals

  • Brekke, Kurt R.
  • Konigbauer, Ingrid
  • Straume, Odd Rune

We consider a therapeutic market with potentially three pharmaceutical firms. Two of the firms offer horizontally differentiated brand-name drugs. One of the brand-name drugs is a new treatment under patent protection that will be introduced if the profits are sufficient to cover the entry costs. The other brand-name drug has already lost its patent and faces competition from a third firm offering a generic version perceived to be of lower quality. This model allows us to compare generic reference pricing (GRP), therapeutic reference pricing (TRP), and no reference pricing (NRP). We show that competition is strongest under TRP, resulting in the lowest drug prices (and medical expenditures). However, TRP also provides the lowest profits to the patent-holding firm, making entry of the new drug treatment least likely. Surprisingly, we find that GRP distorts drug choices most, exposing patients to higher health risks.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 613-642

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:26:y:2007:i:3:p:613-642
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  1. Patricia M. Danzon & Jonathan D. Ketcham, 2003. "Reference Pricing of Pharmaceuticals for Medicare: Evidence from Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand," NBER Working Papers 10007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kurt R. Brekke & Astrid L. Grasdal & Tor Helge Holmås, 2007. "Regulation and Pricing of Pharmaceuticals: Reference Pricing or Price Cap Regulation?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2059, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Price competition, quality and income disparities," CORE Discussion Papers RP -370, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
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  12. Ching-to Albert Ma & James F. Burgess Jr., 1992. "Quality Competition, Welfare, and Regulation," Papers 0024, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  13. Anna Merino, 2000. "The impact of the reference price system on the pharmaceutical market: A theoretical approach," Working Papers, Research Center on Health and Economics 524, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2003.
  14. GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Entry (and exit) in a differentiated industry," CORE Discussion Papers RP -400, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  15. Grabowski, Henry G & Vernon, John M, 1992. "Brand Loyalty, Entry, and Price Competition in Pharmaceuticals after the 1984 Drug Act," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 331-50, October.
  16. Konigbauer, Ingrid, 2007. "Advertising and generic market entry," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 286-305, March.
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