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Does Regulation Drive out Competition in Pharmaceutical Markets?

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  • Danzon, Patricia M
  • Chao, Li-Wei

Abstract

Most countries regulate pharmaceutical prices, either directly or indirectly, on the assumption that competition is at best weak in this industry. This paper tests the hypothesis that regulation of manufacturer prices and retail pharmacy margins undermines price competition. We use data from seven countries for 1992 to examine price competition between generic competitors (different manufacturers of the same compound) and therapeutic substitutes (similar compounds) under different regulatory regimes. We find that price competition between generic competitors is significant in unregulated or less regulated markets (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany) but that regulation undermines generic competition in strict regulatory systems (France, Italy, and Japan). Regulation of retail pharmacy further constrains competition in France, Germany, and Italy. Regulation thus undermines the potential for significant savings on off-patent drugs, which account for a large and growing share of drug expenditures. Evidence of competition between therapeutic substitutes is less conclusive owing to data limitations. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Danzon, Patricia M & Chao, Li-Wei, 2000. "Does Regulation Drive out Competition in Pharmaceutical Markets?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 311-357, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:43:y:2000:i:2:p:311-57
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/467458
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    1. W. Duncan Reekie, 1997. "Cartels, Spontaneous Price Discrimination and International Pharmacy Retailing," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 279-285.
    2. Danzon, Patricia M. & Chao, Li-Wei, 2000. "Cross-national price differences for pharmaceuticals: how large, and why?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 159-195, March.
    3. Patricia Danzon, 1997. "Price Discrimination for Pharmaceuticals: Welfare Effects in the US and the EU," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 301-322.
    4. David Dranove & David Meltzer, 1994. "Do Important Drugs Reach the Market Sooner?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(3), pages 402-423, Autumn.
    5. F. M. Scherer, 1997. "How US Antitrust Can Go Astray: The Brand Name Prescription Drug Litigation," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 239-256.
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