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R&D policy, agency costs and innovation in personalized medicine


  • Yin, Wesley


The Orphan Drug Act (ODA) was designed to spur the development of drugs for rare diseases. In principle, its design also incentivizes pharmaceutical firms to develop drugs for "rare" subdivisions of more prevalent diseases. I find that in response to this incentive, firms develop drugs for ODA-qualifying subdivisions of non-rare diseases. The impact in these tailored drug markets represents half of the total R&D response to the ODA. I also find that 10-percent of the innovation in subdivided disease drugs induced by the ODA would have been conducted without the policy. While modest in size, this inefficiency suggests that agency problems should be considered when designing innovation policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Yin, Wesley, 2009. "R&D policy, agency costs and innovation in personalized medicine," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 950-962, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:5:p:950-962

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1999. "Distribution-free estimation of some nonlinear panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 77-97, May.
    2. Bronwyn Hall, 2004. "The financing of research and development," Chapters,in: Financial Systems, Corporate Investment in Innovation, and Venture Capital, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Michael Kremer, 2001. "Creating Markets for New Vaccines - Part II: Design Issues," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 73-118 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
    6. Michael Kremer, 2001. "Creating Markets for New Vaccines - Part I: Rationale," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 35-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Hausman, Jerry & Hall, Bronwyn H & Griliches, Zvi, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 909-938, July.
    8. Lazear, Edward P, 1997. "Incentives in Basic Research," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 167-197, January.
    9. Amy Finkelstein, 2004. "Static and Dynamic Effects of Health Policy: Evidence from the Vaccine Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 527-564.
    10. Yin, Wesley, 2008. "Market incentives and pharmaceutical innovation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 1060-1077, July.
    11. Hall, Bronwyn & Van Reenen, John, 2000. "How effective are fiscal incentives for R&D? A review of the evidence," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 449-469, April.
    12. DiMasi, Joseph A. & Hansen, Ronald W. & Grabowski, Henry G., 2003. "The price of innovation: new estimates of drug development costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 151-185, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Dubois & Olivier de Mouzon & Fiona Scott-Morton & Paul Seabright, 2015. "Market size and pharmaceutical innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(4), pages 844-871, October.
    2. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:2:p:440-461 is not listed on IDEAS


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