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A re-examination of the impact of reference pricing on anti-hypertensive drug plan expenditures in British Columbia

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  • Paul Grootendorst
  • David Stewart

    (Brogan Inc., Ottawa, Ont., Canada)

Abstract

Reference pricing (RP) limits drug plan reimbursement of interchangeable medicines to a reference price, which is typically equal to the price of the lowest-cost interchangeable drug; any cost above that is borne by the patient. Much of the evidence of the effects of RP comes from 'before and after' studies of the RP scheme adopted by Pharmacare, the publicly funded drug plan for seniors and others in British Columbia, Canada. We critically assess the identifying assumption inherent in the before and after design - namely, that pre-RP trends accurately predict counterfactual outcomes - in the context of estimating the impact of RP on Pharmacare's expenditure on anti-hypertensive drugs for its senior beneficiaries. We use similar data from a public plan that has not introduced RP to estimate the effects on drug expenditures of patent expiration, secular changes in prescribing patterns and various other factors common to all Canadian public drug plans that could potentially confound the before and after estimates of the effect of RP on drug plan expenditures. We find that controlling for such factors reduces estimates of drug plan savings attributable to RP of the Calcium Channel Blockers by about half. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:15:y:2006:i:7:p:735-742 DOI: 10.1002/hec.1103
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lopez-Casasnovas, Guillem & Puig-Junoy, Jaume, 2000. "Review of the literature on reference pricing," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 87-123, November.
    2. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    3. Paul V. Grootendorst & Lisa R. Dolovich & Anne M. Holbrook & Adrian R. Levy & Bernie J. O'Brien, 2002. "The Impact of Reference Pricing of Cardiovascular Drugs on Health Care Costs and Health Outcomes: Evidence from British Columbia -- Volume I: Summary," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 369, McMaster University.
    4. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 11(3), pages 267-277, June.
    2. Kanavos, Panos G. & Vandoros, Sotiris, 2011. "Determinants of branded prescription medicine prices in OECD countries," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(03), pages 337-367, June.
    3. Kalo, Zoltan & Muszbek, Noemi & Bodrogi, Jozsef & Bidlo, Judit, 2007. "Does therapeutic reference pricing always result in cost-containment?: The Hungarian evidence," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 402-412, March.
    4. Fiorio, Carlo V. & Siciliani, Luigi, 2010. "Co-payments and the demand for pharmaceuticals: Evidence from Italy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 835-841, July.
    5. Matteo Galizzi & Simone Ghislandi & Marisa Miraldo, 2011. "Effects of Reference Pricing in Pharmaceutical Markets," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 17-33, January.
    6. Kangasharju, Aki & Hokkanen Joni, Linnosmaa Ismo, Valtonen Hannu, 2012. "Generic substitution policy, prices and market structure: evidence from a quasi-experiment in Finland," Working Papers 35, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
    7. Håkonsen, Helle & Horn, Anne Marie & Toverud, Else-Lydia, 2009. "Price control as a strategy for pharmaceutical cost containment--What has been achieved in Norway in the period 1994-2004?," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 90(2-3), pages 277-285, May.

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