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¿A quién beneficia el comercio paralelo de medicamentos en la Unión Europea?


  • Costa-Font, Joan

    (London School of Economics, Reino Unido, y CAEPS, Universitat de Barcelona)

  • Kanavos, Panos

    (CAEPS, Universitat de Barcelona)


Parallel trade is a legal movement (arbitrage) of goods from one country where the product is first sourced and protected by intellectual property rights to another one but without the warranty of the manufacturer company. This phenomenon takes place as a result of the coexistence of the principle of “free movement of goods” and the subsidiary of national government in social policy affairs. This paper empirically examines whether drug parallel trade in three European Union counties has exerted any effect on prices, and undertaken a distribution of the effect of parallel trade in its stakeholders. Our results suggest that there are very moderate effects of parallel trade on drug prices. The main beneficiaries of parallel trade are parallel importers themselves who bring negligible savings to the health system are moderate, unlikely to overcome the induced costs to drug innovation.// El comercio paralelo constituye un movimiento legal (arbitraje comercial) de productos de un país donde éstos se han puesto en circulación a otro país sin la autorización y la garantía del que posee los derechos de propiedad intelectual del producto. Este fenómeno se deriva de la aplicación del principio de subsidiariedad que lleva asociado la existencia de diferentes sistemas de regulación de precios y el de libre movilidad de bienes. En este artículo examinamos las tendencias de precios y penetración de medicamentos paralelamente importados respecto al precio del producto en el país de destino (beneficios de una mayor competencia) en 2002. En segundo lugar, establecemos una descomposición empírica de los efectos del comercio paralelo de medicamentos en los tres mercados principales de la Unión Europea en los diferentes agentes de la cadena del medicamento. Los resultados no siguieren pruebas de un efecto competitivo del comercio paralelo. Por otra parte, se observa que los principales beneficiarios son los propios importadores paralelos en la medida que el comercio paralelo genera ahorros muy limitados en la factura de los sistemas de salud, que difícilmente superan los perjuicios en la innovación farmacéutica.

Suggested Citation

  • Costa-Font, Joan & Kanavos, Panos, 2009. "¿A quién beneficia el comercio paralelo de medicamentos en la Unión Europea?," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(302), pages 331-347, abril-jun.
  • Handle: RePEc:elt:journl:v:76:y:2009:i:302:p:331-347 DOI:

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    More about this item


    Parallel trade; drug policy; innovation; European Union; comercio paralelo; política farmacéutica; innovación; Unión Europea;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L52 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics


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