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The Unexpected Consequences of Asymmetric Competition. An Application to Big Pharma

Listed author(s):
  • Castanheira, Micael
  • de Frutos, Maria-Angeles
  • Ornaghi, Carmine
  • Siotis, Georges

This paper shows that a pro-competitive shock leading to a steep price drop in one market segment may benefit substitute products. Consumers move away from the cheaper product and demand for the substitutes increases, possibly leading to a drop in consumer surplus. The channel leading to this outcome is non-price competition: the competitive shock on thefirst set of products decreases the firms' ability to invest in promotion, which cripples their ability to lure consumers. To assess the empirical relevance of these findings, we study the effects of generic entry into the pharmaceutical industry by exploiting a large product-level dataset for the US covering the period 1994Q1 to 2003Q4. We find strong empirical support for the model's theoretical predictions. Our estimates rationalize a surprising finding, namely that a molecule that loses patent protection (the originator drug plus its generic competitors) typically experiences a drop in the quantity market share-despite being sold at a fraction of the original price.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 11813.

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Date of creation: Jan 2017
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11813
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  1. de Frutos, Maria-Angeles & Ornaghi, Carmine & Siotis, Georges, 2013. "Competition in the pharmaceutical industry: How do quality differences shape advertising strategies?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 268-285.
  2. Regan, Tracy L., 2008. "Generic entry, price competition, and market segmentation in the prescription drug market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 930-948, July.
  3. Dhaval Dave & Henry Saffer, 2012. "Impact of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising on Pharmaceutical Prices and Demand," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 97-126, July.
  4. Sotiris Vandoros & Panos Kanavos, 2013. "The generics paradox revisited: empirical evidence from regulated markets," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(22), pages 3230-3239, August.
  5. Rizzo, John A, 1999. "Advertising and Competition in the Ethical Pharmaceutical Industry: The Case of Antihypertensive Drugs," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 89-116, April.
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