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.
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.:
- Leemore S. Dafny, 2005. "How Do Hospitals Respond to Price Changes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1525-1547, December.
- Ali Yurukoglu, 2012. "Medicare Reimbursements and Shortages of Sterile Injectable Pharmaceuticals," NBER Working Papers 17987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.