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Reference Prices: The Spanish Way

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  • Jorge Mestre-Ferrandiz

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse the effects of recent regulatory reforms that Spanish Health Authorities have implemented in the pharmaceutical market: the introduction of a reference price system together with the promotion of generic drugs. The main objectives of these two reforms are to increase price competition and, ultimately, reduce pharmaceutical costs. Before the introduction of reference prices, consumers had to pay a fixed copayment of the price of whatever drug purchased. With the introduction of such system, the situation differs in the following way: if (s)he buys the more expensive branded drug, then (s)he pays a sum of two elements: the copayment associated to the reference price plus the difference between the price of this good and the reference price. However, if the consumer decides to buy the generic alternative, with price lower than the reference price, then (s)he has to pay the same copayment as before. We show that the introduction of a reference price system together with the promotion of generic drugs increase price competition and lower pharmaceutical costs only if the reference price is set in a certain interval. Also profits for the duopolists might be reduced. These results are due to the opposing effects that reference prices have on branded and generic producers respectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge Mestre-Ferrandiz, 2000. "Reference Prices: The Spanish Way," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 481.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:481.01
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jorge Mestre Ferrándiz, 1999. "The impact of generic goods in the pharmaceutical industry," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(7), pages 599-612.
    2. Zweifel, Peter & Crivelli, Luca, 1996. "Price Regulation of Drugs: Lessons from Germany," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 257-273, November.
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    Keywords

    Pharmaceutical Industry; Reference Prices; Generics;

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