Perverse reverse price competition: Average wholesale prices and Medicaid pharmaceutical spending
Generic drugs comprise an increasing share of total prescriptions dispensed in the U.S., rising from nearly 50% in 1999 to 75% in 2009. The generic drug market has typically been viewed at the wholesale level as a competitive market with price approaching marginal costs. However, the large presence of third party payers as final purchasers may distort prices at the retail level relative to what a standard model of price competition would predict. In this paper, we investigate how generic drug producers compete in the presence of the procurement rules of the Medicaid program. Medicaid reimbursement to pharmacies, like that of other payers, is based on a benchmark price called the average wholesale price (AWP). The AWP is reported by generic producers themselves, and until recently has been subject to essentially no independent verification. As a result, generic producers have had an incentive to compete for pharmacy market share by reporting AWPs that exceed actual average wholesale prices, as this “spread” leads to larger pharmacy profits. In 2000, after a federal government audit of actual wholesale prices of generic products, states were advised to reduce Medicaid reimbursement by as much as 95% for about 400 generic and off-patent drug products. We use variation induced by the timing of this policy along with its differential impact on drug products' Medicaid reimbursement to estimate the impact of this exogenous price change on the market share of targeted products. Our findings indicate that pharmacies did respond to the perverse incentives of the Medicaid program by dispensing products with the highest AWPs. Overall, the Medicaid market share fell by about 45% for targeted drug products as a result of the policy.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ernst R. Berndt & Murray L. Aitken, 2010. "Brand Loyalty, Generic Entry and Price Competition in Pharmaceuticals in the Quarter Century After the 1984 Waxman-Hatch Legislation," NBER Working Papers 16431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ali Yurukoglu & Eli Liebman & David B. Ridley, 2012. "The Role of Government Reimbursement in Drug Shortages," NBER Working Papers 17987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Reiffen & Michael R. Ward, 2005. "Generic Drug Industry Dynamics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 37-49, February.
- Andrew T. Ching, 2010.
"A Dynamic Oligopoly Structural Model For The Prescription Drug Market After Patent Expiration,"
International Economic Review,
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1175-1207, November.
- Andrew Ching, 2004. "A Dynamic Oligopoly Structural Model for the Prescription Drug Market After Patent Expiration," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 735, Econometric Society.
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
- 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 331-350, October.
- Brekke, Kurt R. & Holmas, Tor Helge & Straume, Odd Rune, 2011.
"Reference pricing, competition, and pharmaceutical expenditures: Theory and evidence from a natural experiment,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 624-638.
- Brekke, Kurt R. & Holmas, Tor Helge & Straume, Odd Rune, 2011. "Reference pricing, competition, and pharmaceutical expenditures: Theory and evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 624-638, August.
- Kurt R. Brekke & Tor Helge Holmås & Odd Rune Straume, 2010. "Reference Pricing, Competition, and Pharmaceutical Expenditures: Theory and Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 3258, CESifo Group Munich.
- Ernst R. Berndt & Thomas G. McGuire & Joseph P. Newhouse, 2011.
"A Primer on the Economics of Prescription Pharmaceutical Pricing in Health Insurance Markets,"
NBER Working Papers
16879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Berndt Ernst R. & McGuire Thomas & Newhouse Joseph P., 2011. "A Primer on the Economics of Prescription Pharmaceutical Pricing in Health Insurance Markets," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(2), pages 1-30, November.
- Mark Duggan & Fiona M. Scott Morton, 2006.
"The Distortionary Effects of Government Procurement: Evidence from Medicaid Prescription Drug Purchasing,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 1-30.
- Mark Duggan & Fiona Scott Morton, 2004. "The Distortionary Effects of Government Procurement: Evidence from Medicaid Prescription Drug Purchasing," NBER Working Papers 10930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Leemore S. Dafny, 2005. "How Do Hospitals Respond to Price Changes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1525-1547, December.
- Gruber, Jon & Kim, John & Mayzlin, Dina, 1999. "Physician fees and procedure intensity: the case of cesarean delivery," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 473-490, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:108:y:2013:i:c:p:44-62. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.