IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Political contributions to influence consumers: the example of the u.s. drug reimportation debate


  • Anne Boring

    () (Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa, IRD, UMR225-DIAL, Paris)


To reduce pharmaceutical prices, some legislators have been trying to pass bills authorizing the reimportation of prescription drugs to the United States. Pharmaceutical companies oppose reimportation, by elaborating a message (foreign drugs are of lower quality than domestic drugs) to influence legislators and their constituents. The industry gives contributions to legislators to spread its anti-reimportation message. The amount it gives depends on legislators’ and constituents’ characteristics. The legislators who receive the most are those whose constituents are most likely to oppose reimports. _________________________________ Afin de réduire les prix des produits pharmaceutiques, des législateurs tentent depuis plusieurs années de faire passer des lois qui autoriseraient la ré-importation de médicaments aux Etats-Unis. Les entreprises pharmaceutiques s’opposent aux ré-importations en élaborant un argument pour influencer les législateurs et leurs électeurs. Ici, l’argument est que les médicaments vendus à l’étranger sont de moins bonne qualité que ceux vendus aux Etats- Unis. L’industrie pharmaceutique finance les législateurs américains pour diffuser ce message contre les ré-importations. Le montant qu’elle donne dépend des caractéristiques des législateurs et de leurs électeurs. Les législateurs qui reçoivent le plus de financement sont ceux dont les électeurs ont le plus de chances d’être opposés aux ré-importations.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne Boring, 2010. "Political contributions to influence consumers: the example of the u.s. drug reimportation debate," Working Papers DT/2010/03, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201003

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2010
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wright, Donald J., 2004. "The drug bargaining game: pharmaceutical regulation in Australia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 785-813, July.
    2. Anis, Aslam H. & Wen, Quan, 1998. "Price regulation of pharmaceuticals in Canada," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 21-38, January.
    3. Omer Gokcekus & Mike Adams & Henry Grabowski & Edward Tower, 2006. "How Did The 2003 Prescription Drug Re-Importation Bill Pass The House?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 27-45, March.
    4. Baldwin, Robert E & Magee, Christopher S, 2000. "Is Trade Policy for Sale? Congressional Voting on Recent Trade Bills," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(1-2), pages 79-101, October.
    5. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    6. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian L, 1998. "Caps on Political Lobbying," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 643-651, June.
    7. Choi, E. Kwan & Harrigan, James, 2003. "Handbook of International Trade," Staff General Research Papers Archive 11375, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    8. Hillman, Arye L, 1982. "Declining Industries and Political-Support Protectionist Motives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1180-1187, December.
    9. Stephen Ansolabehere & John M. de Figueiredo & James M. Snyder Jr, 2003. "Why is There so Little Money in U.S. Politics?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 105-130, Winter.
    10. kishore gawande & pravin krishna, 2005. "The Political Economy of Trade Policy: Empirical Approaches," International Trade 0503003, EconWPA.
    11. repec:cup:apsrev:v:100:y:2006:i:01:p:69-84_06 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Valérie Paris & Elizabeth Docteur, 2006. "Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Policies in Canada," OECD Health Working Papers 24, OECD Publishing.
    13. Wright, John, 2004. "Campaign Contributions and Congressional Voting on Tobacco Policy, 1980–2000," Business and Politics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(03), pages 1-26, December.
    14. Levitt, Steven D, 1994. "Using Repeat Challengers to Estimate the Effect of Campaign Spending on Election Outcomes in the U.S. House," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 777-798, August.
    15. repec:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:03:p:566-581_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    17. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:01:p:145-158_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Bresnahan, Timothy F, 1987. "Competition and Collusion in the American Automobile Industry: The 1955 Price War," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 457-482, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    political contributions; lobbying; drug reimportation; pharmaceutical industry; protectionism; financement politique; lobbying; ré-importations; médicaments; industrie pharmaceutique; protectionnisme.;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201003. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Loic Le Pezennec). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.