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Effects of Reference Pricing in Pharmaceutical Markets

  • Matteo Galizzi

    ()

  • Simone Ghislandi
  • Marisa Miraldo

This work aims to provide a systematic and updated survey of original scientific studies on the effect of the introduction of reference pricing (RP) policies in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. We searched PubMed, EconLit and Web of Knowledge for articles on RP. We reviewed studies that met the inclusion criteria established in the search strategy. From a total of 468 references, we selected the 35 that met all of the inclusion criteria. Some common themes emerged in the literature. The first was that RP was generally associated with a decrease in the prices of the drugs subject to the policy. In particular, price drops seem to have been experienced in virtually every country that implemented a generic RP (GRP) policy. A GRP policy applies only to products with expired patents and generic competition, and clusters drugs according to chemical equivalence (same form and active compound). More significant price decreases were observed in the sub-markets in which drugs were already facing generic competition prior to RP. Price drops varied widely according to the amount of generic competition and industrial strategies: brand-named drugs originally priced above RP values decreased their prices to a greater extent. A second common theme was that both therapeutic RP (TRP) and GRP have been associated with significant and consistent savings in the first years of application. A third general result is that generic market shares significantly increased whenever the firms producing brand-named drugs did not adopt one of the following strategies: lowering prices to RP values; launching new dosages and/or formulations; or marketing substitute drugs still under patent protection. Finally, concerning TRP, although more evidence is needed, studies based on a large number of patient-level observations showed no association between the RP policy and health outcomes. Copyright Springer International Publishing AG 2011

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Article provided by Springer in its journal PharmacoEconomics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 17-33

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Handle: RePEc:spr:pharme:v:29:y:2011:i:1:p:17-33
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  1. Brekke, Kurt R & Königbauer, Ingrid & Straume, Odd Rune, 2005. "Reference Pricing of Pharmaceuticals," Working Papers in Economics 19/05, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  2. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Do Pharmaceutical Prices Respond to Potential Patient Out-of-Pocket Expenses?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(3), pages 469-487, Autumn.
  3. Zweifel, Peter & Crivelli, Luca, 1996. "Price Regulation of Drugs: Lessons from Germany," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 257-73, November.
  4. Miraldo, Marisa, 2009. "Reference pricing and firms' pricing strategies," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 176-197, January.
  5. Paul V. Grootendorst & John K. Marshall & Anne M. Holbrook & Lisa R. Dolovich & Bernie J. O'Brien & Adrian R. Levy, 2004. "The Impact of Differential Cost Sharing of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents on the Use and Costs of Analgesic Drugs," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 115, McMaster University.
  6. Paul Grootendorst & David Stewart, 2006. "A re-examination of the impact of reference pricing on anti-hypertensive drug plan expenditures in British Columbia," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(7), pages 735-742.
  7. Tom Stargardt, 2010. "The impact of reference pricing on switching behaviour and healthcare utilisation: the case of statins in Germany," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 267-277, June.
  8. Mats A. Bergman & Niklas Rudholm, 2003. "The Relative Importance of Actual and Potential Competition: Empirical Evidence From the Pharmaceuticals Market," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 455-467, December.
  9. Boris Augurzky & Silja Göhlmann & Stefan Gre� & Jürgen Wasem, 2009. "Effects of the German reference drug program on ex-factory prices of prescription drugs: a panel data approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(4), pages 421-436.
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