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Examining the link between price regulation and pharmaceutical R&D investment

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  • John A. Vernon

    (Department of Finance & Center for Healthcare & Insurance Studies, Graduate School of Business, University of Connecticut, Connecticut, USA)

Abstract

This paper examines the link between price regulation and pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) investment. I identify two mechanisms through which price regulation may exert an influence on R&D: an expected-profit effect and a cash-flow effect. Using established models of the determinants of pharmaceutical R&D, I exploit a unique fact to quantify firm exposure to pharmaceutical price regulation: relative to the rest of the world, the U.S. pharmaceutical market is largely unregulated with respect to price. Using this fact within the context of a system of quasi-structural equations, I simulate how a new policy regulating pharmaceutical prices in the U.S. will affect R&D investment. I find that such a policy will lead to a decline in industry R&D by between 23.4 and 32.7%. This prediction, however, is accompanied by several caveats. Moreover, it says nothing about the implications for social welfare; therefore, these issues are also discussed. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • John A. Vernon, 2005. "Examining the link between price regulation and pharmaceutical R&D investment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 1-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:14:y:2005:i:1:p:1-16
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.897
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.897
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    4. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1998. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 193-225, March.
    5. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
    6. Berndt, Ernst R., 2000. "International comparisons of pharmaceutical prices: what do we know, and what does it mean?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 283-287, March.
    7. John Vernon, 2003. "The relationship between price regulation and pharmaceutical profit margins," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(8), pages 467-470.
    8. Henderson, Rebecca. & Cockburn, Iain., 1993. "Scale, scope and spillovers : the determinants of research productivity in ethical drug discovery," Working papers 3629-93., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    9. Henry Grabowski & John Vernon, 2000. "The determinants of pharmaceutical research and development expenditures," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 201-215.
    10. DiMasi, Joseph A. & Hansen, Ronald W. & Grabowski, Henry G., 2003. "The price of innovation: new estimates of drug development costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 151-185, March.
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