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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
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  1. 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.
  2. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Do Pharmaceutical Prices Respond to Potential Patient Out-of-Pocket Expenses?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(3), pages 469-487, Autumn.
  3. Patricia M. Danzon & Jonathan D. Ketcham, 2004. "Reference Pricing of Pharmaceuticals for Medicare: Evidence from Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 7, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Brekke, Kurt R. & Nuscheler, Robert & Straume, Odd Rune, 2002. "Quality and location choices under price regulation
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  14. Lopez-Casasnovas, Guillem & Puig-Junoy, Jaume, 2000. "Review of the literature on reference pricing," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 87-123, November.
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  17. 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).
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