Competition and the Reference Pricing Scheme for pharmaceuticals
By introducing n (>1) firms with infinite cross-price elasticity (i.e. generic drugs), we explore the effects of competition on the optimal pricing strategies under a Reference Pricing Scheme (RPS). A two-stage model repeated infinite number of times is presented. When stage 1 is competitive, the equilibrium in pure strategies exists and is efficient only if the reference price (R) does not depend on the price of the branded product. When generics collude, the way R is designed is crucial for both the stability of the cartel among generics and the collusive prices in equilibrium. An optimally designed RPS must set R as a function only of the infinitely elastic side of the market and should provide the right incentives for competition.
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