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The Determinants of Pricing in Pharmaceuticals: Are U.S. prices really higher than those of Canada?

  • Antonio Cabrales
  • Sergi Jiménez-Martín

This paper studies price determination in pharmaceutical markets using data for 25 countries, six years and a comprehensive list of products from the MIDAS IMS database. We show that market power and the quality of the product has a significantly positive impact of prices. The nationality of the producer appears to have a small and often insignificant impact on prices, which suggests that countries which regulates prices have relatively little power to do it in a way that advances narrow national interest. We produce a theoretical explanation for this phenomenon based on the fact that low negotiated prices in a country would have a knock-on effect in other markets, and is thus strongly resisted by producers. Another key finding is that the U.S. has prices that are not significantly higher than those of countries with similar income levels. This, together with the former observation on the effect of the nationality of producers casts doubt on the ability of countries to pursue "free-riding" regulation.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 304.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:304
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  1. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  2. Beatriz Dominguez & Juan-José Ganuza & Gerard Llobet, 2006. "R&D In The Pharmaceutical Industry: A World Of Small Innovation," Working Papers wp2006_0601, CEMFI.
  3. Iain M. Cockburn & Aslam H. Anis, 2001. "Hedonic Analysis of Arthritis Drugs," NBER Chapters, in: Medical Care Output and Productivity, pages 439-462 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ernst R. Berndt & Robert S. Pindyck & Pierre Azoulay, 1999. "Network Effects and Diffusion in Pharmaceutical Markets: Antiulcer Drugs," NBER Working Papers 7024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Maria Arbatskaya & Morten Hviid & Greg Shaffer, 1999. "On the incidence and Variety of Low-Price Guarantees," CIE Discussion Papers 1999-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  6. Richard G. Frank & David S. Salkever, 1997. "Generic Entry and the Pricing of Pharmaceuticals," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 75-90, 03.
  7. 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.
  8. Gambardella, Alfonso & Orsenigo, Luigi & Pammolli, Fabio, 2000. "Global Competitiveness in Pharmaceuticals: A European Perspective," MPRA Paper 15965, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Scherer, F.M., 2000. "The pharmaceutical industry," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1297-1336 Elsevier.
  10. Z. John Lu & William S. Comanor, 1998. "Strategic Pricing Of New Pharmaceuticals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 108-118, February.
  11. 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 311-57, October.
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